Open Stage, a professional theatre company in downtown Harrisburg, and Sankofa African American Theatre Company will be bringing their co-production of Crowns, a musical by Regina Taylor, to Open Stage’s Capital BlueCross Main Stage May 28 through June 26.
Sankofa African American Theatre Company President and Executive Artistic Director Sharia Benn is back at Open Stage to direct this spectacular gospel musical. Crowns is the story of a Chicago teenager who, sent to live with her grandmother in South Carolina, finds connection among a community of resilient African American women in their church hats. Weaving together faith, fashion and family, Crowns is an inspirational, joyous musical celebration of love and redemption.
“When we decided on Crowns to close out Open Stage’s 36th season, we knew we had to partner with Sankofa African American Theatre Company,” Open Stage Artistic Director Stuart Landon said. “Under Sharia’s direction, the quality and underlying meaning of the production is elevated. Audiences are going to love this heartfelt musical.”
Crowns has earned critical praise. The Star-Ledger called it a “warm, wise, and wonderful” gospel musical. A Chicago critic said, “No wonder that Crowns is one of the most produced musicals in America. It is a glimpse into the one of the finest traditions in the vast assortment of the American Experience.”
Crowns was first produced at Open Stage in 2006, and it was so successful that a revival was produced the following season in 2007. Open Stage is proud to present Crowns once again in partnership with Sankofa African American Theatre Company. The theatre companies have previously partnered to produce two runaway hits, Akeelah and the Bee (2018) and For Colored Girls… (2019).
Directed by Sharia Benn, stage managed by Jess Ross, and vocally directed by Cheryl Hawkins, the show's cast includes Paula J. Lewis-Roman, Diane Hetes, Regina Gail Malloy, Breanne Sensenig, Steven Ross, Jasmine Graham, and Latoya Dallas.
Crowns creator Regina Taylor is an award-winning actress, playwright, and director. She is known for her role as Lily Harper in the acclaimed 1991 series I’ll Fly Away, receiving a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Drama in 1993. She has starred in the CBS crime drama Elementary and in films such as The Negotiator, Losing Isaiah, Lean on Me, and the thriller Courage Under Fire. Taylor also has worked on Broadway and off-Broadway productions. She was the first Black woman to play Juliet on Broadway in the classic William Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet.
For tickets to Crowns, visit openstagehbg.com.