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CRT Rstarts Nutmeg Summer Series With CROWNS 6/11-21

Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) will restart its summer theatre, the Nutmeg Summer Series, by presenting the hit musical show Crowns June 11 - 21 in the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre, Storrs. Tickets go on sale March 30. For tickets and information, call 860-486-4226 or visit

The Nutmeg Summer Series was an extremely popular summer theatre series that featured musicals and plays presented in the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre during the summer as far back as the late 1940's. The series was suspended after the 2002 season for financial reasons but a new financial format that includes major support from the university as well as private donors has enabled the series to return with one show this season. CRT intends to return to a full season Summer Nutmeg Series of three or more shows in 2010.


By ReGina Taylor

Adapted from the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry

Get ready for some soul-stirring, funny and powerful stories from the church elders, stories with enough hattitude to set the choir singing! That's hattitude as in crowns - elegant headwear favored by these six women whose stories are woven into the hats that adorn their heads. This gospel-infused musical features soulful, joyful music, from freedom song to hip hop, that celebrates family and faith and is a jubilant expression of culture and tradition.

After a family tragedy, a Brooklyn teen is sent to her grandmother's house in South Carolina. Her journey of cultural and self-discovery is timed to a church day, from morning to the evening processional, featuring a wedding, a funeral, and a baptism.

Crowns is an exploration of history and identity. This incredible story of oNe Young woman's return to the South dramatizes her education into the ritualized world of hats as an expression of cultural identity.

This production of Crowns is being co-produced by CRT in collaboration with Indiana Repertory Theatre and Syracuse Stage. It will feature a full professional cast and professional musicians who will perform the show in Indianapolis and Syracuse before arriving in Storrs June 11.

Shannon Antalan (Yolanda) Shannon has been seen on Broadway in Caroline, or Change and Xanadu; Off-Broadway in Junie B. Jones; and in the first national tour of Hairspray as Inez. Regionally she has performed as Abyssinia in Abyssinia, Taylor in High School Musical 2, Ermina Crump in Crumbs from the Table of Joy, and Amaliya inThe Princess & the Golden Yam.
Terry Burrell (Wanda) Terry's Broadway credits include The Threepenny Opera, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Swingin' on a Star, Into the Woods, Dreamgirls, Honky Tonk Nights, and Eubie. She appeared in the first London production of Show Boat. Off-Broadway, she has appeared in Almost Heaven, The World Goes 'Round, Just So, and Taking a Chance on Love. She received a Helen Hayes nomination for her portrayal of Queenie in Queenie Pie. Other regional credits include Mahalia, Man of La Mancha, Up from Paradise, Of Thee I Sing, Jar the Floor, The Women of Brewster Place, Cinderella, for colored girls..., Sweet and Hot, Ain't Misbehavin', A Christmas Carol, Time and Again, Sheila's Day, Sophisticated Ladies, and Smokey Joe's Café. Tours include The Wiz, Bubbling Brown Sugar, Thunder Knockin' at the Door, Copacabana, Show Boat, and A Grand Night for Singing.

Chandra Currelley (Mother Shaw) Chandra is the former lead singer for the legendary recording group the S.O.S. Band. She was recently seen in the world premiere of the Alliance Theater's Jesus Christ Superstar Gospel and Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company's The Amen Corner. Other credits include Dinah Was, Blues in the Night, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Hot Mikado. Atlanta credits include Two Queens, One Castle at the Horizon Theatre; Madea's Class Reunion at the Fox Theatre; and Slam!, Sophisticated Ladies, One Mo' Time, and Black Nativity at Jomandi. Regionally, she has performed at the Beacon Theatre in New York City; the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles; the Aladdin Theatre in Las Vegas; North Shore in Boston; the Studio Theatre, Arena Stage, and Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.; and San Diego Repertory Theatre. TV credits include VH-1, Say Yes! on TBN, Video LP on BET and Atlanta Jazz Showcase on PBS. She appeared in Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman for Lionsgate Films. Chandra has been nominated for the Helen Hayes Award, the Atlanta Gospel Choice Award, the Suzie Bass Award, and the NAACP Phoenix Award. Chandra has released two cds, Love Songs and The Real Me.

Crystal Fox (Jeanette) A theatre veteran and film-TV actress, Crystal is most noted for her role as Sgt. Luann Corbin on the TV series In the Heat of the Night. She has appeared in such theatre productions as The Breach and Gem of the Ocean at Seattle Rep; Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Seven Guitars, From the Mississippi Delta, and A Christmas Carol at the Alliance; Flyin'

West at True Colors; for colored girls... at Portland Center Stage (Drammy Award for Best Actress); Home at the RoundHouse Theatre (Helen Hayes nominee for Best Supporting Actress); Three Sistahs at MetroStage; and two successful seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in productions of Antony and Cleopatra, The Piano Lesson, The Comedy of Errors, and A Raisin in the Sun. Crystal's other TV and film credits include The Old Settler, Third Watch, Law & Order, The Sopranos, Mama Flora's Family, and Driving Miss Daisy.

Valerie Payton (Mable) Valerie was most recently seen in Jesus Christ Superstar Gospel at the Alliance. She played Power Woman in Menopause the Musical in Atlanta and was a Suzi award nominee for the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet at the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern. She played Armelia in Ain't Misbehavin' and Mabel in Crowns at San Diego Rep, both directed by Patdro Harris. Off Broadway, she played Sister Mary Robert Ann in Nunsense. Other credits include Domina in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and roles in The Wizard of Hip, Violet, The Mandrake, A Christmas Carol, Two Queens One Castle, The Full Moon of Sonia Sanchez, The People vs. Mona, Dating and Mating in Modern Times, The Spitfire Grill, Murder in the Cathedral, and Salome. Valerie has performed in concert in Amsterdam, Sydney, Australia, and across the U.S.

Roz White (Velma) A native of Washington, D.C., Roz is a graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Howard University's College of Fine Arts. As a recording artist, she has recorded and toured with many artists, including gospel music legend Yolanda Adams. Recent theatrical credits include Grandma Rose and Paula in the world premiere of Cool Papa's Party, choreographed by Maurice Hines at Metrostage. Roz's self-penned cabaret Pearl Bailey ... by Request made its world premiere at Metrostage in November. Other theatre credits include two national tours of Dreamgirls as well as regional productions of Blues in the Night, Eubie, Rejoice, Don't Stop the Carnival, Guys and Dolls, Mahalia, and Bessie's Blues, which garnered her the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical.

Patdro Harris (Director) Director, choreographer and writer, Patdro Harris recently directed Crowns for the San Diego Repertory Theatre. He also recently choreographed the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit, A Raisin in the Sun, and served as choreographer and movement specialist in Tony Morrison's world premiere opera Margaret Garner. Off Broadway, his writing and directing talents have been showcased in TC Carson's The Love Show , Sonia Sanchez Live and Birth of the Boom. Patdro has served as director, choreographer and artistic consultant with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Kennedy Center, Alliance Theatre, Studio Theatre D.C., City Theatre of Pittsburgh, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Minneapolis Mixed Blood Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Jomandi Productions, Guthrie Theatre, The National Black Theatre Festival, and The National Black Arts Festival.

Felix E. Cochren (Scenic Designer), Reggie Ray (Costume Designer), Jennifer Setlow (Lighting Designer), Jonathan Herter (Sound Designer), and William Hubbard (Music Director).

Tickets to Crowns go on sale for CRT subscribers only beginning March 20. Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning March 30. Tickets can be purchased by calling 860-486-4226 or online (after March 30) at Subscriber discounts are available only by phone.

Please call or visit the box office for specific show dates and times because performance schedules vary and are subject to change.

Weeknight evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. Weekend evening performances start at 8 p.m. Matinee performances start at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $14- $36.


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