The Berea College Theatre Laboratory will close its 2012-2013 production season with a six-night production run of Regina Taylor’s play, “Crowns.” Taylor’s play is a moving and celebratory musical production in which hats become a springboard for an exploration of black history and identity as seen through the eyes of Yolanda, a young black woman who travels down South to stay with her grandmother after her brother is killed in Brooklyn. Gospel music, rap and dance underscore her story as she explores her cultural identity and the significance of her roots in a very energetic, colorful and theatrical depiction of African-American life. This play is filled with amazing spiritual music, jazz numbers and African rhythmic drumming.
Originally produced in New York City with McCarter Theatre in association with Second Stage Theatre in 2002, “Crowns” is based on the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marbury and adapted by Taylor. Hailed as “an artful amalgamation of oral history, fashion show, and musical theatre” by TheaterMania.com, the musical play is based on the book: “Crowns. Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats.”
The Berea cast is directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Adanma O. Barton. Barton is assisted with the musical elements of the play by Berea College graduate Jessica Slaton. Cast members include a mix of newcomers to the Berea stage as well as a few veteran performers.
Audiences will be enchanted by the singing and performances of LaWynter Bailey, Sala Dia, Trinisha Dupree, Tessa Jones, Le’Naya Langford, Marienette Ngambou, Candace Reed, Joshua Rhoden, Emmanuel Watkins and Chelsea Watson.
“This is the perfect production to end our season with. ‘Crowns’ fully embodies Berea College’s Great Commitments. Our extremely talented cast is ready to spread the message of love, peace, and understanding to all audience members who are fortunate enough to witness this amazingly powerful production” says Barton.
Professor of Theatre Shan R. Ayers will design the scenery and lighting for the production and the costumes will be designed by the Theatre Laboratory’s resident designer, Mary Ann Shupe.
Performances of “Crowns” will be in the Jelkyl Drama Center on the Berea College campus, April 12, 13, and 17-20, 2013 beginning at 8 p.m. each evening. There will be a sign language interpreted performance on Friday, April 19. Tickets are $10 for the general public and can be reserved by calling the Theatre Laboratory Box Office at 985-3300 between 1-5 p.m. Special group prices can be arranged for groups of 10 or more by calling 985-3419.