Written and Directed by Regina Taylor
Adapted from the Book by Michael Cunningham
& Craig Marberry
Choreography by Dianne McIntyre
Music direction by Fred Carl
At the Goodman Theatre, Chicago
Triumphant return for Crowns to the Goodman Theatre
It has been since 2004 since I’ve seen Crowns and I loved it then and now it’s even better, more alive and more stylish now. The sheer energy and deeply felt emotion as symbolized by the hats African-American women to church each Sunday is captured in Regina Taylor’s tuneful Crowns. This is an expanded and improved even stylish production filled with humor, pathos and charm. It is well sung from the five women including the strong voices from E. Faye Butler, Alexis J. Rogers and the fabulous Felicia P. Fields.
When Chicagoan Yolanda (the terrific Marketta P. Wilder) is sent down South after her brother is gunned down, she finds strength from the tales of the five wise women who surround her. The power of learning old-time rituals symbolized by the pride in their hats eventually dazzles Yolanda. Her journey exposes her (and us) to the Gospel-oriented traditions of Southern African-American women in a true stirring, foot-stomping musical. Both traditional songs like “That’s All Right’ and “Just a Closer Walk with Thee,” together with fun tunes like ” Too Many Hats,” makes Crowns is a jubilant, joyous ode to African-American women and their Sunday ‘go-to-church’ hats- a fitting metaphor for their lives.
Felicia P. Fields and E. Faye Butler anchor a cast of strong voices that, together with slick dancers, produce a most engaging and well crafted Gospel musical. No wonder that Crowns is one of the most produced musicals in America. It is an glimpse into the one of the finest traditions in the vast assortment of the American Experience. Crowns is a heartfelt show that needs to be seen to fully appreciate.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: July 9, 2012
For more info checkout the Crowns page at theatreinchicago.com
At the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, Chicago, IL, call 312-443-380, www.goodmantheatre.org, tickets $31- $78, Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays 7 Saturdays at 8 pm, Thursday matinees at 2 pm, Saturday matinees at 1:30 pm, Sundays at 2 & 7;30 pm, running time is 1 hour 45 minutes without intermission, through August 12, 2012