|Second installment of 'Queens Girl' at CRT posted on 04/01/2022|
Portland actor, musician and writer Lauren Steele was ready
to perform the one-woman show “Queens Girl in Africa,” by Caleen Sinnette
Jennings, last fall at Clackamas Repertory Theater (CRT) when the pandemic took
a turn for the worse and the production was delayed. This month, Steele’s
performance as Jacqueline Marie Butler and 17 other memorable characters can be
enjoyed by theatergoers as the show will go on.
“It’s been a really cool experience to have something
marinating in your mind for months and months,” Steele said, adding that while
this is her first time back as an actor due to the pandemic, she has also been
working on her musical endeavors, including a new album and a single that’s now
available on music platforms.
“Queens Girl in Africa” is the second play in the “Queens
Girl in the World” trilogy, and Steele also tackled the first play in 2019 at
CRT, winning a Drammy award for Best Solo Performance.
The second play picks up with Butler as she finds herself at
a crossroads of personal and political upheaval when her family abruptly moves
to Nigeria following the assassination of civil rights leader Malcolm X, a
close family friend.
Steele played more than a dozen characters in the first
installment, and noted that she’s spent time on the characterization of the
array of characters in “Queens Girl in Africa,” with the biggest challenge in
tackling a variety of African dialects.
“We have the comfort of some of the same archetypes as last
time, (but) different circumstances and personalities,” she said, adding the
only characters that appear in both plays are Butler and her parents.
Steele sees parallels between the play and the world around
us, as Butler has to deal with different aspects of her identity within the
larger context of war and political upheaval.
“I think that’s kind of where we’re at now,” she said. “I
hope people walk away with some comfort in that it’s not the first time we’ve
been through something like this. What you’re feeling is okay and you’re not
Steele also noted that the audience will also enjoy the
humor in the play.
“I hope people have a whole lot of fun,” she said.
CRT presents “Queens Girl in Africa,” by Caleen Sinnette
Jennings and directed by Damaris Webb, through Sunday, April 24, at the Osterman
Theatre on the Oregon City campus of Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla
Avenue in Oregon City.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday,
and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Ticket prices are $40 for adults and seniors and $30
for youth (ages 6-25).
For more information, visit clackamasrep.org or call
503-594-6047. A free pre-show lecture will be held one hour before the Sunday
matinees on April 3, 10 and 24.
Music in Boring
Americana singer Larry Wilder will be back this month at the
Nutz-n-Boltz Theater Company (NNB) in Boring for a weekend of music. Wilder,
who performed last April at NNB, spent much of time since then working on a
variety of cruise lines, including a ship docked in The Dalles for the Fourth
“I’m so glad to be doing this,” Wilder said about his NNB
He noted that the last two years have given him a chance to
evolve as a performer. Wilder’s approach is to try and make a connection and
engage with the audience through his songs (and jokes).
“Without question, the pandemic gave us pause to reflect on
everything, family relationships, personal philosophy and faith,” he said.
Wilder doesn’t plan on mentioning the pandemic (or politics)
in his performance, but will focus on the songs, ranging from The Kingston Trio
to Harry Belafonte to John Denver to Rodgers and Hart and more.
“The song stories are phenomenal,” he said. “I want to keep
the people having fun; make them feel part of the great American musical
heritage. I’m pretty lucky to get to do this.”
NNB presents Larry Wilder at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 2 and
Sunday, April 3 at the Boring Grange, 27861 Grange Street in Boring. Tickets
are available at the door or online. The performance will consist of two
45-minute sets with one intermission and is appropriate for audience members of
all ages. For more information, or to make reservations, call 503-593-1295 or
By Garth Guibord/MT