ReGina Taylor brings her musical Crowns - based on the book by Craig Marberry with photographs by Michael Cunningham-back to the Goodman stage.
For her all-new 10th anniversary production, Taylor has engaged community partners and used workshops to explore and deepen the spoken word, dance and music elements in Crowns. The ensemble cast includes several "leading ladies" of the American theater, including E. Faye Butler as Mabel, Felicia Fields (Tony-nominated for The Color Purple) as Mother Shaw, Alexis Rogers as Jeanette and Pauletta Washington as Wanda; newcomers JaSondra Johnson (Velma) and Marketta P. Wilder (Yolanda) were cast from hundreds of hopefuls in Taylor's open audition for emerging Chicago actors. Also featured is David Jennings as the preacher, and Taylor's newly-created five-member ensemble features Chicago talents including Shari Addison, Melanie Brezill, Kelvin Roston, Yusha-Marie Sorzano and Laura Walls. The creative team includes music director Fred Carl, projection designer Maya Ciarrocchi, set designer Maruti Evans, choreographer Dianne McIntyre, costume designer Karen Perry, lighting designer Ken Posner and sound designer Richard Woodbury.
Crowns runs June 30 – August 5, 2012 (Opening Night is July 9) in the Goodman's Albert Theatre. Information about special lobby performances and other Crowns-related events can be found below. Tickets ($29 - 88; subject to change) are now on sale and can be purchased at GoodmanTheatre.org/Crowns, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Target is the Major Corporate Sponsor of Crowns. JP Morgan Chase & Co and PwC are Corporate Sponsor Partners. Chicago Tribune is a Media Partner. American Airlines is the Exclusive Airline of Goodman Theatre.
"It's difficult to believe that a decade has passed since the premiere of Crowns, ReGina Taylor's exuberant theatrical celebration of African American women and their church hats that remains one of the most successful productions in Goodman history," said Goodman Artistic Director Robert Falls. "Over the course of her 18 years as an Artistic Associate-including the past year as a new Chicago resident-Regina has delivered 11 distinct works to the Goodman stage as a uniquely gifted and prolific playwright, director and performer. Her powerful reinvestigation of Crowns recognizes the vast cultural changes that have occurred in the past ten years and reaches even greater emotional and artistic heights."
A celebration of the individuality of the human spirit-and what is passed down from generation to generation-Crowns has distinguished itself as the most-produced new musical in the US over the past decade. More than one million audience members have reveled in this "church-chic" (The Miami Herald) "thrilling ritual" (The Los Angeles Times) in 40+ cities across the country and Canada. Crowns traces the roots of Gospel music through contemporary hip hop, fusing rich storytelling with abundant "hattitude" into a stirring coming-of-age tale. When Englewood-born Yolanda is sent down South after the death of her brother, she finds strength in the tales of the wise women who surround her-and the powerful rituals connected to their dazzling hats. Hailed "delightfully celebratory" by The New York Times, Taylor's work has earned four Audelco Awards and four Helen Hayes Awards. "Run-hatless, if you must-to get a ticket!" (The Washington Post).