Crowns: A Gospel Musical
by Regina Taylor
Saturday, November 16 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 17 at 4 p.m.
Adapted from the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberr
Presented by MPAACT
Directed by Chuck Smith
Crowns is a moving and celebratory musical in which hats become a springboard for an exploration of black history and identity as seen through 17-year-old Yolanda’s eyes.
After Yolanda’s brother is shot and killed in Brooklyn, her mother sends Yolanda down south to live with her Grandma Shaw where Yolanda is welcomed into her grandmother’s inner circle of Hat Queens. Each woman’s hat holds a story of a wedding, funeral, baptism as the women share their stories of how they moved through life. Yolanda realizes she’s not alone in her challenges; the hats aren’t just fashion statements - they are testimonies of sisterhood – they are hard earned Crowns.
Besides the 73-year-old salt of the earth Mother Shaw, there is Velma, a 27-year-old mortician who has buried too many classmates; 35-year-old Jeannette, accused of being too flirtatious with other women’s husbands; 40ish, by-the-book, school teacher Wanda, and bigger than life Mabel, the preacher’s wife. Yolanda returns to Brooklyn with new eyes. She can better see where she’s from, who she is, and where she’s going.
Rap, hip-hop, spoken word, jazz, blues, R&B, but predominantly gospel music and dance underscore the story.
This program is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional contributions from Arts Midwest’s nine-member state arts agencies and the Crane Group
Southern Tea Party
Sunday, November 17 at 2 p.m.
Don’t miss this unique pre-show theatrical event. Join popular moderator, event producer, and PBS on air-host Sylvia Ewing in a conversation about family, tradition and culture. Share memories about your sisterhood and favorite family traditions. Bring a treasured tea cup from your home for all to admire if you wish. Refreshments will be served as we set the stage for a matinee performance of Crowns!
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