They’ve come from different times and places – E. Faye Butler, the Chicago born musicals star whose favorite roles include Caroline, or Change, The Gospel According to Fishman, Saving Amy, and Polk County, and Zurin Villanueva, Brooklynite, Howard University student, and winner of Arena Stage’s Finding Yolanda talent search. In Crowns, E. Faye’s character Mother Shaw and Zurin’s Yolanda develop a deep bond which has spilled over into their personal lives, as you will hear here.
Joel met them at Arena costume shop and while those famous church ladies’ hats were being created in the background, they talked about their characters, the story and songs from the shows (you’ll hear some clips) , and, of course, about hats and having ‘hatitude!’.
‘Is this the same production of Crowns that we have seen before at Arena Stage?”, Joel asked. E. Faye says that it is not. “They built this show from the ground up… It’s special because it’s new. Molly (Smith) took a piece that has been here before, added an elegance and has taken it a notch up, and has put an elegance and polished it up… It feels good. It feels new. It feels fresh”.
All photos by Scott Suchman
Related: DCTS coverage of Arena’s casting call: Finding Yolanda
Tom Johnson says
What a fantastic interview Joel! You really captured E. Faye’s personality and Zurin is so talented. Sounds like Arena made a great choice in selecting her. I love how the music is edited in. Can’t wait to see Crowns.