CROWNS The Gospel Musical Comes to Raleigh Little Theatre

CROWNS The Gospel Musical Comes to Raleigh Little TheatreReGina Taylor's moving and celebratory gospel musical "Crowns" opens at Raleigh Little Theatre on Friday, August 25. "Crowns" is based on the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry, which features portraits and stories of black women in church hats. RLT's production is directed by Terra Hodge.

"There is a hat for every occasion. Hats have played an imperative part in African American culture. You wouldn't dare go to church without a hat to complete your outfit. This play celebrates the tradition of women wearing hats that can be traced back to African rituals and slavery. Each hat holds a story and "Crowns" honors the women wearing the hats and tells the story behind each one," said Hodge.

Aya Wallace, who plays Wanda, and Latoya Smith, who plays Jeanette, have both appeared on RLT's stage before. They are joined by newcomers Lynnette Barber (Mother Shaw), Ivy Annam (Velma), India Williams (Mabel) and Chelsey Moore (Yolanda). Joshua Johnson plays the role of Man, portraying several different characters.

RLT is holding a contest for "Crowns," asking women to share photos and stories of the hats they wear to church. The winners will have their portraits made and will receive complimentary tickets to opening night along with a restaurant gift certificate. The winners will be chosen by RLT staff and the production's media sponsors, Triangle Tribune and Arts Now.

There will be a post-show discussion after the performance on Sunday, August 27 co-sponsored by the African American Cultural Center of NC State University. The performance on Sunday, September 3 will be audio described by Arts Access, Inc..

"Crowns" is sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina. Raleigh Little Theatre is supported by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, as well as the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Media sponsors of the production are Arts Now and the Triangle Tribune.

The production runs August 25 - September 10 in the Cantey V. Sutton Theatre. Tickets for all events at RLT can be purchased by calling the box office (919)-821-3111, Monday through Friday, noon to 5:00 p.m., or by visiting the theatre's website at

Founded in 1936, Raleigh Little Theatre (RLT) is one of the oldest, continuously operating, community theatres in the United States. RLT offers entertainment, education, and community programs year-round, reaching 40,000 people. As a community theatre, RLT engages hundreds of volunteers, under the guidance of professional staff, to achieve its mission and to bring quality live theatre to the Triangle area. Visit for more information. Raleigh Little Theatre is located at 301 Pogue St., Raleigh, N.C. 27607, adjacent to the Raleigh Rose Garden

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