The iconic gospel musical Crowns opened last week at Vintage Theatre.
The show is known for really diving deep into the music of black Christianity to tell a story about African heritage and identity. Both funny, sad, and powerful, the shows is told with only a few actors on stage playing multiple characters. Through basic speech and gestures—and lots of gorgeous hats as props—they tell the stories of their mothers, grandmothers, and themselves and what hats, music, religion, and other cultural identifiers mean to them.
This is not an easy show to do, as it requires all of the actors to be able to sing really well and go in and out of multiple personalities, monologues, and dialogues without missing a beat. It’s also necessary for the set to look great and the lighting and the sound cues to match up with the action.
When it comes to all of those things, Vintage hits the nail on the head. They may be a small theater working with a small cast and crew, but you forget about all that as the action unfolds. The music is deep and powerful, all of the acting is spot-on, and the set is gorgeous.
Another thing that is great about this show is the message. It touches on the specific plight of African American people and what they have overcome, and it also talks about family, tradition, and belonging. Although most of the characters are no doubt strictly Christian, there is no heavy-handed message to come to God. Instead, the call to action is to appreciate heritage and unity and never forget your roots.
You can catch Crowns at Vintage through August 4. Grab tickets here.