CATCO's "Crowns" opened last weekend, and the joyous gospel musical is fine family fare for the4 holidays, if not a holiday-themed show. Read about "Crowns" in this week's print and online editions of The Beat in ThisWeek Community Newspapers.

One of the devices used to tell the story (read the paper) is the ornate hats African-American women wear, in particular, to church. In keeping with this theme, two hat vendors will sell hats in the lobby during certain performances. In addition, CATCO will sponsor a hat raffle featuring six of the toppers used in the production.

But beware donning opulent hats if you're planning on taking in the show - Patty Wallace-Winbush is a jealous cast member! "My concern is, if you wear your own crown to the show, to please take it off," she joked. "The audience can't have better hats than we do!"

Many of the displayed-but-not-worn hats on stage are donations from Columbus resident Delores Jackson. The hats belonged to her aunt, Vivrean Crawford. Longtime CATCO supporter Fred Holdridge offered the following note about Vivrean:

"To Vivrean Crawford, hats were a way of life—she loved hats. Throughout her life in Coffeyville, Kansas, she collected hats—one of a kind, and the fancier the better. When niece Delores Jackson drove to Coffeyville to move Vivrean to Columbus, her aunt insisted that all the hats be packed and moved with her. Vivrean attended Clair UMC, and she volunteered at South Side Settlement House until her health prevented it. She died this year at the age of 92. When approached about lending Vivrean’s hats to CATCO’s production of Crowns by Regina Taylor, Delores agreed that her aunt would be pleased to “show off” her beautiful hats one more time." --Fred Holdridge