JACQUELINE LAWTON: To begin, why did you decide to get into theater? Was there someone or a particular show that inspired you?
CRASHONDA EDWARDS: I was first introduced to theater from my forensics and debate coach when I was in the 10th grade. I had been staying after school for the debate team and needed something else to do on the days we didn’t have practice, so she suggested helping build the set for the next school production. After I helped build the set I auditioned for the next production and landed a lead role. After that I had the bug.
JL: Set in Hampton, Virginia in the 1940s, THE HAMPTON YEARS examines the impact of World War II on Jewish immigrants living in the United States and their role in shaping the lives and careers of African American students in the segregated south. This play investigates the various ways in which racism and bigotry negatively impact the arts, academia and military. Where do you feel we are in terms of race relations in the U.S.?
CE: I believe we have come along way and still have so much work to do. Race relations are no longer black and white, and until this country can have healthy discussions about race and gender relations, we will continue to have issues.
JL: THE HAMPTON YEARS also celebrates and honors such extraordinary artists as John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Samella Lewis, Viktor Lowenfeld and Charles White for their bold and courageous ability to overcome these challenges and create beautiful, powerful and lasting works of art. Why do you feel this play is relevant to today audiences?
CE: I feel this play is so relevant to today’s audiences because everyone has faced adversity at some time in their life and this show is a brilliant example of human resilience.
JL: Which character are you playing? What, if anything, do you have in common with this character’s passions, values, intentions or belief system?
CE: I play Samella Lewis in The Hampton Years and her sass and drive are things that we share. She has inspired me to chase after my dreams and never ever give up.
JL: What’s next for you as an actor? Where can we follow your work?
CE: You can keep up with what’s next for me at www.CrashondaEdwards.com.
CRASHONDA EDWARDS (Samella Lewis) most recently appeared as Castabella in The Atheist Tragedy and Marianna in All’s Well that End’s Well at the Shakespeare Theatre Company and George Washington University’s Academy for Classical Acting program’s repertory showcase. At the age of 17, she was accepted to the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts high school. Upon graduation, she pursued a BFA at Savannah College of Art and Design and during the summer studied at the New York Theatre Intensive. Following graduation, she went on to pursue her MFA at Shakespeare Theatre Company and George Washington University’s Academy for Classical Acting program. With an abundance of talent, drive, faith and skill, the next chapter of her life is sure to inspire.
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!