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  Crowns Reviews

Goodman Theatre
Thru - Aug 12, 2012

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Goodman Theatre

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Chicago Tribune- Highly Recommended

"...Regina Taylor's "Crowns" — a huge hit on the regional-theater circuit a decade or so ago but never a Broadway musical — has been reconceived as a Chicago story with roots in Englewood. As reimagined by Taylor in a big summer production at the Goodman Theatre, the show now is not just a gospel-fused celebration of African-American women and their eye-popping Sunday headgear but a meditation on the potential redemptive powers of the proud matriarchs of the South when it comes to saving one of Chicago's troubled daughters."
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Chris Jones

Stage and Cinema- Recommended

"...In this production, the leading ladies are all worth mentioning for being able to belt it out like they can. As Mama Shaw, Felicia Fields and her deep, rich voice simply steal the show as Yolanda’s grandmother, a woman with a heart of gold and a no-nonsense attitude. Pauletta Washington, E. Faye Butler, and Jasondra Johnson are also excellent in their respective roles—Johnson has to battle through some more turbulent moments in the script, like the ignominious pun “hattitude” which got, at best, a pity chuckle both of the times it was uttered. She handles this with as much grace as she can."
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Paul Kubicki

ChicagoCritic- Highly Recommended

"... Felicia P. Fields and E. Faye Butler anchor a cast of strong voices that, together with slick dancers, produce a most engaging and well crafted Gospel musical. No wonder that Crowns is one of the most produced musicals in America. It is an glimpse into the one of the finest traditions in the vast assortment of the American Experience. Crowns is a heartfelt show that needs to be seen to fully appreciate."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard- Recommended

"...With an expanded orchestra and arrangements, “Crowns” does full justice to its title. You feel the labor(s) of love that goes into these heavenly hats. The final Ziegfeld-like runway procession of the ladies in full fashion (the worthy work of Karen Perry) strutting up a storm to “Gonna Shout All Over God’s Heaven” is a complex but compelling mix of vanity and piety. It sends mixed messages in all directions."

Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"... No matter your musical likes or dislikes, what “Crowns” brings to life is a satisfying theatrical experiences filled with some of the best Gospel you will ever hear and I guarantee you will be clapping your hands and stomping your feet several times during the course of the performance. Through the stories that Yolanda is told by these “Hat Queens”, she learns about history and come s to the realization that she herself can pass on this for the future."
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Alan Bresloff

Huffington Post- Highly Recommended

"... To introduce us to this world of hat fetishists, we have Yolanda (Marketta P. Wilder, a fierce young actress making a bold Chicago theatre debut). Yolanda is a defensive teenager grappling with the sudden loss of her older brother, a victim of a petty street shooting. In a defensive move, Yolanda's mother ships her from the rough streets of Chicago's Englewood neighborhood to the sunny hills of South Carolina to be with her grandmother, Mother Shaw (the earthy Felicia Fields), and her extended family. There, rap and hip-hop is traded in for gospel and chant circles, much to Yolanda's disorientation."
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Bob Bullen