The story is adapted from the Langston Hughes libretto that was turned into a Broadway musical in 1961. The plot follows a Baltimore teenage boy who is sent to Harlem to spend Christmas with the grandparents he never met. Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett will play the boy's grandparents, with Jennifer Hudson playing the single mother who had a falling out with her reverend father after becoming pregnant. Forest Whitaker is also set to play multiple characters during the nativity sequence.
Kasi Lemmons will direct from her own adapted screenplay, with William Horberg, Celine Rattray, Galt Niederhoffer, and Daniela Taplin Lundberg producing. Production is scheduled to run from January to March in New York City.