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Nights of Lights at Guido Studios begins Friday night
Guido Lights
Lights at Guido Studios - photo by HOLLI DEAL BRAGG/staff
A special feature performance of "Black Nativity," directed by internationally renowned director Mical Whitaker, will take place tonight at 6 p.m. at Dr. Michael Guido's Studios on Hwy. 121 in Metter.
    The performance, comprised of excerpts from the production, kicks off  the 15th annual Nights of Lights at Guido Studios. The play will be performed in its entirety later tonight on opening night at Averitt Arts Center in Statesboro.
    Like the Christmas star so long ago, searchlights are calling visitors from far and near to celebrate the birth of Jesus during the month-long event.
    The two million twinkling lights annually draw more than 40,000 visitors to the studio each year in December, when the lights go on nightly from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The displays, many of which are animated, are not only for the young – but for the young at heart as well.
    This year's celebration will include new sights to thrill Christmas lovers of all ages. Most notable of these sights will be animals actually walking "two-by-two" to enter Noah's ark and the addition of a new servant at the life-like manger scene, which always draws large crowds with its angels soaring overhead.
     Favorite attractions include the Rudolph collection, a collection of Peanuts displays for fans of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy and the entire Peanuts Gang, an "Under-the-Sea"collection, a special swamp collection, the climbing bear and the running squirrel.
     In addition, visitors can also see the new additions to the Studios, the  Angel statue, a replica of the statue on display at The Louvre in Paris, and the Fishers of Men and Great Commission designs sculpted by Georgia native Max Greiner Jr. of Kerrville, Tx.
    The "Black Nativity" is only the first of many performances scheduled for the month at Guido Studios. Whitaker's productions of "Black Nativity" have been performed in Miami, Charleston, Atlanta, and Greensboro, N.C., as well as for several years at the Johnny Mercer Theater in Savannah. In December 1981, the play was performed at the Vatican through invitation by Pope John Paul II, where "it enthralled the Pope and 5,000 listeners, cardinals and Vatican officials," according to Ebony magazine.
    Other scheduled performances include the Bethel Baptist Church Choir of Richmond Hill on Dec. 8 and the Randy Bird Family of Augusta on Dec. 9. The Bird Family will perform for 15 minutes at the start of every hour from 6-9 p.m.
    There is no admission to visit the Studios or the Nights of Lights celebration. For more information, call 912-685-2222.
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