Show Archive

Explore the rich history of The Jazz Nativity, and reminisce on the magic from Christmas' past.

Notes from the Creators

“BENDING TOWARDS THE LIGHT … a Jazz Nativity” is as much great theater as it is great jazz. Staged and directed by Beth Ann Kennedy, the Nativity story is told in a new and different way. Every year people say “This was the best ‘Nativity’ ever!” I think this really may have been.

What a show! The energy in the hall was incredible! The jazz ensemble and solos were breathtaking.

Steve Wilson filled in spectacularly for our regular Sax Shepherd, Jon Gordon. The singers from the opera world, Frank Basile and David Gordon as the Shepherds and Victoria Davis as the Archangel, were magnificent. From the jazz world, The Royal Bopsters were incredible, as was Ella Fitzgerald Competition winner Lucy Wijnands as Mary. And Shepherd Child Zoe-Lay Whittaker provided the show-stopping moment with the astonishingly held high note at the end of “Bending Towards the Light” that brought the house down.

Scott Robinson played a beautiful solo in the dark in 'Silent Night' and the arrival of the talented Three Kings—Chris Brubeck on trombone, tapper Maurice Chestnut, and Bobby Sanabria on timbales—was spectacular. This was followed by the entire company's performance of Dave and Iola Brubeck’s 5/4 Christmas song 'God’s Love made Visible,' and concluded with the grand finale of 'Deck The Halls,' featuring surprise guests saxophonist Virginia Mayhew and the extraordinary young tappers, The Foreman Brothers. The show elicited gasps and roaring applause from the audience!

-Anne Phillips

This is Beth Ann Kennedy, and I want to express my gratitude to you for kindly purchasing tickets to the November 30 and December 3 performances of Bending Towards the Light… the Jazz Nativity in Bozeman, Montana. I’m just back from directing the New York City production, and it was an equally great show with an incredible cast and a wildly enthusiastic audience. Entirely different cast and venue.

For the first time ever in New York City, we live streamed the show and people were watching it all over the world. There was such a tremendous response from those who saw it on the streaming platform that we have decided to offer it on The same way you purchased your ticket for either the November 30 or December 3 show in Bozeman you can purchase a ticket to watch the NYC show wherever and as often as you wish.

We encourage you to let friends and family know.

So cozy up with a cup of cocoa and enjoy the wonders of the Bending Toward the Light… the Jazz Nativity as seen by a full house in Manhattan on December 18.

-Beth Ann Kennedy

Anne Phillips and Beth Ann Kennedy

Jazz Nativity in the News

Resounds: "Bending Towards the Light . . . A Jazz Nativity"

Composer Anne Phillips and director Beth Ann Kennedy had the joy of sitting and speaking with Yellowstone Public Radio Hosts Corby Skinner & Anna Paige for their program Resounds: Arts and Culture on the High Plains.

WBGO: "Bending Towards the Light: The story behind ‘A Jazz Nativity’"

Composer Anne Phillips and 2023 King/percussionist Bobby Sanabria sat down with Sheila Anderson at WBGO and had a wonderful conversation sharing the joy that is the Jazz Nativity. Click the button below to give it a listen!

“It is a very moving thing. That's why I encourage everybody to come. No matter what background you're from in terms of your taste in music. You'll love it.”- Bobby Sanabria

Jazz Nativity Interviews with the Performers

Join Anne Phillips and Beth Ann Kennedy for these intimate interviews with the stars from the Jazz Nativity over the years!

2023 Jazz Nativity Venues

New York

Monday, December 18, 2023 at 8:00 pm
St. Paul & St. Andrew United Methodist Church
263 West 86th Street, NYC 10024

Last year's Kings in NY were Chris Brubeck (trombone), Maurice Chestnut (tapper) and Bobby Sanabria (timbales).


Thursday, November 30 at 7:00 PM
Sunday, December 3 at 4:00 PM
Hope Lutheran Church
2152 Graf Street, Bozeman, Montana

Keep the light alive!

Light is meant to serve, as light serves for so many religions and philosophies as a symbol of truth and love ... and hope. Hope that even in a dark season, we may begin to see the world...BENDING TOWARDS THE LIGHT.