Springfield Civic Theatre offers ‘Crowns’ to mark Black History Month

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

For a theater experience that blends culture, music, dancing, hope, humor and sadness, just use your head and look for “Crowns.”

Springfield Civic Theatre will again mark Black History Month with a story of discovery and appreciation of culture that will appeal to various ages. “Crowns” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the John Legend Theater.

“Crowns” tells the story of Yolanda, a teen girl living in Brooklyn, N.Y., whose brother is killed. Concerned for the girl’s safety, her mom sends her to live with family in North Carolina.

The culture shock turns into a community as several women and a man use their crowns, or hats, to tell stories about life.

Director Debbie Blunden-Diggs previously co-directed “Crowns” for Dayton’s Human Race Theatre Company. Also the chief artistic and producing director for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Blunden-Diggs said she was elated to come on board for this production.

“It’s a small cast, only seven actors and a musician, but the stories are really poignant,” she said. “They’re about friendship and lifting one another up. The show is appealing to a wide array of audiences, not just African-Americans, but everyone can be into.”

She explained the show title comes from the tradition of women in Black communities wearing hats to church, and they refer to them as crowns.

Blunden-Diggs acknowledged community theater can be a tough gig, but praised Springfield Civic and president Suzanne Grote for their support.

While the small cast is largely from Springfield and Dayton, she called them a unique and collective cast and that should show up on stage. Cast members include Afton Holfinger, Dawn Carter, Ella Ragans, Kay McConnell, GD Harris, Charlotte Harris and La’Brae Pointer.

“They didn’t know each other at the beginning but now can call themselves friends,” said Blunden-Diggs. “I’ve had an absolutely wonderful time directing, and now we’re ready to have an audience hear these stories and celebrate with us.”

Tickets can be purchased at the John Legend Theater box office or online at web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/34900.


What: “Crowns”

Where: The John Legend Theater, 700 S. Limestone St., Springfield

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 and Friday, Feb. 24 and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25

Admission: adults $17, seniors and students $14

More info: www.springfieldcivictheatre.org/