Second Stage Theatre, which is still running Ricky Jay: On The Stem, directed by David Mamet, through Sept. 1, will begin their next season with Regina Taylor's new play with music Crowns in November. Broadway favorite Lillias White will headline in the Off-Broadway production at the midtown Manhattan venue.
Based on the book by photographer Michael Cunningham and journalist Craig Marberry — a volume of photos of African-American women in their Sunday church hats — the new play features gospel music.
Taylor (Urban Zulu Mambo and star of the Second Stage production of Jar the Floor) dramatizes the book's accompanying stories for the stage to be performed by six actresses. Accompanying Taylor's writing and direction will be Ronald K. Brown choreography. Daryl Waters serves as musical director.
The cast of Crowns, in addition to Tony Award-winning White (The Life, How To Succeed, Dreamgirls), will also feature Lawrence Clayton (Bells Are Ringing,The Civil War), Carmen Ruby Floyd (Little Ham), Harriett D. Foy (Once on This Island, Inside Out), Lynda Gravatt (King Hedley II, The Old Settler), Ebony Jo-Ann (The Sunshine Boys, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) and Janet Hubert (Cats, The First, The Vagina Monologues) — best known for her turn as the matriarch on TV’s "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
* The rest of the season is as follows:
Composer of Broadway musicals such as The Wild Party and Marie Christine, Michael John LaChiusa will present the world premiere of his new musical, Little Fish. The show, beginning in January 2003, centers around a neurotic New Yorker who reflects on her attempts to quit smoking, exercise regularly, and find the man of her dreams. Hyphenate Graciela Daniele (Once on This Island, Marie Christine, A New Brain) directs and choreographs the work with book, lyrics and music by LaChiusa — who provided material for Second Stage's A...My Name Is Alice.
Playwright Craig Lucas' Reckless — originally produced in 1983 — gets a second staging at Second Stage under the direction of Mark Brokaw (Lobby Hero, Old Money) in April 2003. Brokaw has teamed up with Lucas on his prior works, The Dying Gaul and Stranger, and has helmed Second Stage productions of This Is Our Youth and Gemini. In Reckless, a suburban wife lives in bliss until one Christmas Eve when a hitman — hired by her hubby — makes an attempt on her life.
A fourth production is still being decided upon and will be announced in the fall.
For subscriptions or single tickets, call Second Stage, 307 West 43rd Street, at (212) 246-4422. For more information, visit the Second Stage website at www.secondstagetheatre.com.