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Political And Media Figures Zoom Together To Celebrate A Buzzy New Political Play At Baltimore Center Stage

Imogen Lloyd Webber, Irene Gandy, Jamal Simmons, and Michel Martin will join the virtual opening night screening.

Actress Joy Bryant, Broadway journo Imogen Lloyd Webber, Broadway press legend Irene Gandy, CBS News commentator Jamal Simmons, and Michel Martin of NPR and PBS fame, joined journalist turned playwright, Keli Goff and others for a virtual opening night screening and zoom toast to celebrate the launch of Goff's play, The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls at Baltimore Center Stage (BCS) where it will be streamed through April 18th. Others who joined to celebrate the virtual launch included some of Goff's friends from the political world, including former State Senator Lois Pines (D-MA), Angelique Pitteloud, wife of Swiss Ambassador Jacques Pitteloud, and Chirlane McCray, celebrated author and First Lady of the City of New York.

The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls, (which made history at BCS with its all Black female creative team), was led by director Bianca LaVerne Jones, who was also on hand for the opening night festivities, as was cast member Awa Sal Secka, and Baltimore Center Stage Artistic Director Stephanie Ybarra.

The cast of the show includes Stori Ayers, Awa Sal Secka, and Shayna Small. The artistic team includes Bianca LaVerne Jones (Director); Keli Goff (Playwright); Dede Ayite (Scenic and Costume Designer); Stacey Derosier (Lighting Designer); Diggle (Associate Scenic Designer); Lauren Jackson (Assistant Director); Nikiya Mathis (Hair & Wig Designer); Twi McCallum (Sound Designer); Dean Radcliffe-Lynes (Film & Post Production); David Lee Roberts Jr. (Video Director & Editor); Danielle Teague-Daniels (Production Stage Manager); and Grace Chariya (Production Management/Stage Management Apprentice).

Now a successful screenwriter, Goff's first theatrical production was inspired by her years on-air at outlets like MSNBC and FOX, specifically the pressure she faced as a Black woman to conform (and make sure that her hair conformed) to traditional standards of beauty. The play, which has received praise from luminaries including Gloria Steinem, supermodel Beverly Johnson, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (see attached) features monologues and scenes of Black women sharing humorous and heartbreaking stories about how their hair, and the politicization of Black hair, impacted some of the most pivotal moments of their lives. With the recent election of the first Black female vice-president and legislation to end discrimination against natural hair gaining momentum nationwide, The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls is especially timely for this era in American politics.

Since becoming a full-time screenwriter and playwright, Goff has gone on to be nominated for two Emmy Awards as a film producer on the political documentary Reversing Roe, and recently began writing for the highly anticipated Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That.

Due to the pandemic, The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls was filmed live without an audience at Baltimore Center Stage, and is available via streaming from March 25th through April 18th. (Tickets are available via the Baltimore Center Stage website and some performances will be followed by talkbacks featuring various journalists, politicians, pop culture experts, and thought leaders discussing the issue of hair discrimination.)

The virtual opening night screening and toast was sponsored and hosted by Hudgins Williams Associates.

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