By Drew Dunlop
NASHVILLE, TN —The Tennessee Women’s Theater Project is currently running the show “Sistas: The Musical” by Dorothy Marcic. The stage play/musical tells the story of five women sorting through the life of a grandmother who has just died. There are several famous songs performed covering black history; the character of the grandmother had been a part of it. The play’s cast features former American Idol talent Sarina-Joi Crowe. Ms. Crowe appeared on the popular talent-audition show two years ago and placed in the top 12 due to her strong flexibility and quality of voice.
It was these features which caused Maryanna Clarke to take notice of her. Clarke is the director of Sistas and was faced with a problem during casting. She had several talented actresses audition for the part, but none had the range of voice which was required. Of particular concern was the Whitney Houston song “I Have Nothing,” which itself features a wide vocal range. Clarke put out an email to several people she knew in the theatre world to see if they knew of someone who might be able to handle the singing. Crowe was one of five recommendations. “I could tell from the first note that she was the right one. Her resonance was strong and she was able to handle the range,” said Clarke.
Crowe is still in the early part of her theatre career, with Sistas being her third show. However, her variety of talent is expressed in other ways as well. She currently performs with a local band called Black Top Blonds, contributing vocals, guitar, and original music that she’s written. Screen work is also a part of her talents. However, she is enticed by the idea of doing more theatre. “I have always been a vocalist first, but there is something really refreshing about performing on stage. Theatre makes people feel things. It’s a message which makes people think, ‘I would love to be a part of more stories like that.’
In Sistas Crowe plays Tamika, the youngest daughter of one of the sisters who is Doctor Simone. She wants to go and not be a part of the culling through the grandmother’s possessions and history, but she begins to realize there are important things happening in the family and starts to evolve. Crowe says of the character, “I am close to my mom in real life. We have different various opinions on a lot of things. But I always can take something important from her, which makes me a better person. Tamika is very similar.”
Sistas will be performed through March 5th at the Looby Theater. More information can be found on the Tennessee Women’s Theater Project website at twtp.org