Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS

Fifteen years after its world premiere at McCarter Theatre Center, Crowns is returning. When Yolanda's brother is killed on the streets of Chicago, the shaken teenager is sent to live with her grandmother in South Carolina, where she embarks on a journey toward discovering her place in the world, and in her family. Produced in association with Long Wharf Theatre, Crowns runs March 13 - April 1 in McCarter's Matthews Theatre.

In anticipation of the anniversary production, Crowns has been revisited by creator and director Regina Taylor, with the narrative being told from the teen's perspective as she deals with her past and her newfound sense of self. The music and movement have been refreshed, with the talents of collaborating composers Jaret Landon, Diedre Murray, and Drama Desk award winner (In Transit) Chesney Snow creating a lush and captivating new musical soundscape merging gospel, soul, and hip-hop.
Inspired by the best-selling book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry, Crowns weaves faith and fashion together into an inspirational, joyous coming-of-age musical celebration of triumphant African American women, their church hats, and the traditions and love passed from generation to generation. A show called "warm, wise, and wonderful" by The Star-Ledger, Crowns is the winner of numerous Helen Hayes Awards (including Best Production, Best Musical, and Best Director) and is one of the most produced works in the United States.

McCarter Artistic Director Emily Mann said: "Crowns is one of the most beloved productions in the history of this theater, and represents a great bringing together of communities and generations. It's an amazing story about women with the grit, the courage and the faith to carry on and keep moving forward. I'm deeply proud and incredibly excited to see it reborn on the Matthews Stage."

Crowns features renowned gospel vocalist Shari Addison (Mother Shaw) alongside on-the-rise actress and Rider University graduate Gabrielle Beckford as Yolanda. Shari and Gabrielle are joined by a collection of Broadway veterans including Lawrence Clayton (The Color Purple), Rebecca E. Covington (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), gospel vocalist and songwriter Latice Crawford (Diary of a Church Girl), Stephanie Pope (Pippin), and Danielle K. Thomas (Avenue Q). Additionally, each performance of Crowns will include a featured soloist from the Central New Jersey area (casting TBA).

The design team includes Choreographer Dianne McIntyre, Musical Director Jaret Landon, Composers Diedre Murray and Chesney Snow, Set and Projections by Caite Hevner, Costumes by Emilio Sosa, Lighting by Bradley King, Sound by Robert Kaplowitz, Wig, Hair, and makeup by J. Jared Janas and Dave Bova, and Projection Design by Rasean Davonte Johnson. Musical Director Jaret Landon will be joined each night in performance by Drumfolk Riddim Specialist David Pleasant. Full bios for cast and design team below.


Regina Taylor (Writer/Director) is elated to return to Crowns at McCarter and Long Wharf. Ms. Taylor was honored as the 2017 Denzel Washington Chair Fordham University at Lincoln Center where she directed her play Magnolia. She contributed to the Princeton and Slavery Plays at the McCarter Theatre that featured work by Emily Mann, Kwame Kwei Armah, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Nathan Alan Davis, Dipika Guha, and Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins. Writing credits include: Trinity River Plays (Edgerton Award), Drowning Crow (Broadway), stop.reset. (Signature Theater Residency 5). Taylor is Artistic Associate at Goodman Theatre and one of its most produced playwrights. Acting credits include: First African American Juliet on Broadway in Romeo and Juliet (Belasco Theater) First African American lead in Masterpiece Theater's Cora Unashamed. Taylor received a Golden Globe Award for Best Lead Performance for the TV Series I'll Fly Away. Movies include: Clockers, Courage Under Fire, and Lean on Me.

Photos by Charles T. Erickson

high res photos

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
The Company of CROWNS

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Gabrielle Beckford

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Gabrielle Beckford

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
The Company of CROWNS

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Sharia Addison

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Gabrielle Beckford

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Danielle K. Thomas

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Rebecca E. Covington

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Lawrence Clayton

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Shari Addison, Latice Crawford, Danielle K. Thomas, Rebecca E. Covington

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Stephanie Pope

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Shari Addison, Latice Crawford, Danielle K. Thomas

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
The Company of CROWNS

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Stephanie Pope, Shari Addison, Latice Crawford

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Gabrielle Beckford

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
David Pleasant

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Gabrielle Beckford

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Latice Crawford and David Pleasant

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Gabrielle Beckford

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Gabrielle Beckford

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Latice Crawford

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Jaret Landon

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Lawrence Clayton, Shari Addison, Gabrielle Beckford

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Lawrence Clayton

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Lawrence Clayton

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Gabrielle Beckford

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
Gabrielle Beckford

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
The Company of CROWNS

Photo Flash: Mccarter Presents The 15th Anniversary Production Of Regina Taylor's CROWNS
The Cast and Crew of CROWNS



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