Theater Project to present ‘Crowns’ at Burgdorff

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MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The award-winning professional company The Theater Project has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to produce the musical “Crowns” at its home base in Maplewood’s Burgdorff Center for the Arts. Performances will run Sept. 29 through Oct. 23 on Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Burgdorff, 10 Durand Road in Maplewood.

“Crowns” is a moving and celebratory musical where the hats worn by black church women become a springboard for an exploration of black history and identity. The story is seen through the eyes of a young woman who travels down south to stay with her aunt after her brother is killed in Brooklyn; as she deals with her loss, she finds strength in learning about her roots. Gospel music, rap and dance underscore her story as she discovers the significance of her community’s cultural traditions in a colorful, energetic depiction of African-American life.

Originally produced in New York City with McCarter Theatre in association with Second Stage Theatre in 2002, “Crowns” is based on the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marbury and adapted by Regina Taylor.

The Theater Project had previously produced “Crowns” in another location in 2010, so expectations are high.

“We expect to raise the roof at each and every performance,” artistic director Mark Spina said in a press release. “The music in ‘Crowns’ makes you want to join right in — and people do!”

The production’s musical director is Gail Lou, an accomplished recording artist, actress, songwriter and arranger.

Tickets, group rates and information are available at For more information, call 908 809-8865.