A Crowning Achievement at Barksdale
Joan Tupponce reviews "Crowns" at Barksdale Theatre.
If you missed the chance to see "Crowns" when Barksdale Theater first presented it in 2005, don't make the same mistake twice.
Barksdale is currently co-producing the production with the African-American Repertory Theatre. This uplifting musical is adapted from the book "Crowns - Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats." The hats you will see on stage symbolize the pride and self-expression of the women that wear them.
The stories that accompany each hat are played out brilliantly. Each elicits a different emotion, from heartbreak to hilarity.
The memories that the crowns represent are weaved into the story of Yolanda, a rebellious young teen from Brooklyn, who has come to live with her grandmother after her brother is killed. It's the heartwarming stories, told through song, that change Yolanda's attitude.
The winning ensemble on stage couldn't be better. They provide a realism that is as joyous as it is honest. The snapshots they convey are wise and powerful.
The talent in this seven-member cast is amazing. Each actor brings enthusiasm and skill to the production. This is not a show where one performance steals the limelight. Each member of this cast is a standout, dramatically and vocally.
The insightful songs range from the sentimental musings of Mother Shaw to the playful antics of Velma. The actors are complemented by a collection of crowns that would be the envy of any church-going woman, as well as lively gospel music that will have you clapping and singing along.
The cast of "Crowns" will win your heart and have you praising the Almighty. The jubilant show is a must-see.
"Crowns" runs through June 27 at Barksdale Theater. For "V for Women" and Joan Tupponce.com, this is Joan with One Woman's View.