World Premiere of ‘Canfield Drive,’ Dramatic Comedy ‘Marie and Rosetta’ and Drama with Music ‘Nina Simone: Four Women’ Are Among the Presentations
The Black Rep will open its 42nd Season with “the spirit-stirring hand-clapping good time” of “Crowns: A Gospel Musical” by Regina Taylor. “Crowns” will run from September 5-23 at The Edison Theatre on the campus of Washington University. More information and ticket purchases are available at www.theblackrep.org, or by calling The Black Rep Box Office at (314) 534-3807.
“Crowns” refers to hats worn by black women. These hats become a springboard for an exploration of black history and identity as seen through the eyes of a young woman who has come down South to stay with her aunt after her brother is killed in Brooklyn. She views Hats everywhere, in exquisite variety, one the characters in the play use them to tell tales and sing songs about everything from the etiquette of hats to their historical and contemporary social functions.
Anita Jackson leads the cast as Mother Shaw, with Maureen Williams as Wanda, Amber Rose as Velma, Leah Stewart as Mabel, Eleanor Humphrey as Jeannette, Myke Andrews as The Man and Tyler White as Yolanda.
“Crowns” will be directed by Linda Kennedy, Artistic Associate and longtime company member. Kennedy says, “The mothers and grandmothers, women of the church, were the glue that held us all together. They helped to raise us and helped make us accountable for our actions. We feared them then but are so grateful to them now. One of the greatest gifts a child can receive is the opportunity to sit and listen to and learn from an elder.” Rounding out the behind the scenes team will be the stage manager, Tracy D. Holliway-Wiggins, set designer, Dunsi Dai, lighting by Joe Clapper, and costumes by Daryl Harris.
Following “Crowns,” the Black Rep’s season will continue with the world premiere of “Canfield Drive” by Kristen Adele Calhoun and Michael Thomas Walker (January 1-27, 2019), a searing story of two reporters caught up in the frenzy of the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Mo; “Marie and Rosetta” by George Brant (February 13-March 3, 2019), about guitar legend Sr. Rosetta Tharpe (a major influence on everyone from Elvis to Jimi Hendrix) and her tour with protege Marie Knight that established them as one of the greatest musical duos in history; and “Nina Simone: Four Women” by Christina Hamm (May 15-June 6, 2019) celebrating the music and lyrics of Ms. Simone, the musical innovator and social force, and the impact they have on the lives of four women. “Canfield Drive” and “Nina Simone” will take place in the Edison Theatre while “Marie and Rosetta” will be presented in the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre, all on the campus of Washington University.
Nina Simone photo