Crowns, a gospel musical
by Spectrum Theatre Company

Mar. 10 - Mar. 20, 2016

Synopsis from Goodman Theatre, Chicago: 

Crowns is a coming of age story about a 17-year-old girl. Yolanda is on a self destructive path running the mean Englewood streets of Chicago. Yolanda’s mother sends her down south to live with her Grandma Shaw after Yolanda’s brother is shot and killed. Grandma Shaw introduces Yolanda to her circle of “Hat Queens”(each woman owns at least one hundred hats).

Yolanda tells her story in a mix of hip-hop and spoken word. Yolanda’s sound is mixed with gospel, jazz, blues, R&B and other idioms of the women who become a part of her life. At first, Yolanda thinks these women have nothing in common - think “Joy Luck Club” or “The Secret Life of Bees”- as this community joins together to save Yolanda’s life.

Each hat holds a story of a wedding, funeral, baptism as the women share their stories of how they moved through life’s struggles. They baptize Yolanda in history/memory. Yolanda realizes she’s not alone in her feelings. The hats aren’t just a fashion statement - they are testimonies of sisterhood - they are hard earned Crowns.

Besides the 73-year-old salt of the earth Mother Shaw, there is Velma, a 27-year-old mortician who has buried too many classmates; Jeannette, 35 and accused of being too flirtatious with other women’s husbands; Wanda, a 40-ish by the book school teacher and Mabel the preacher’s wife who is bigger than life and bodacious.

Yolanda returns to Chicago with new eyes. She can better see where she’s from, who she is and where she’s going.

Crowns has been one of the most produced musicals in the country and has played at the top regional theaters. Its first run was at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey and transferred to a very successful run at Second Stage in New York City.

This musical won Helen Hayes Awards (for Best Production, Best Musical and Best Director for Ms. Taylor). Crowns is enjoying critical acclaim and great audiences for its current production at the Goodman Theatre. 

Crowns, a gospel musical
by Regina Taylor, based on the Michael Cunningham-Craig Marberry book
Spectrum Theatre Company

March 10 - March 20, 2016
Austin Playhouse
6001 Airport Boulevard
Austin, TX, 78752

Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 5 p.m.

Wednesday performance March 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Austin Playhouse at Highland Mall

Tickets $25 plus handling, available via

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