Crystin Gilmore, Starring as Pearl in “Black Pearl Sings!”

Q: Where are you from and where did you receive your training in theatre?

I’m a small town girl from the outskirts of Memphis, TN. I have a B.F.A. from the University of Memphis.

Q: You currently reside in New York City and are an Equity actor. Can you briefly explain what it means to be an Equity actor?

An equity actor or Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), is an American labor union representing those who work in live theatrical performance. AEA works to negotiate and provide performers and stage managers quality living conditions, livable wages, and benefits. Being in the union doesn’t mean an actor is more talented than a non union actor, it just means an actor has enough professional credits and/or finds it beneficial to join the union. My greatest appreciation for the union is health insurance and having an advocate to fight for me in unjust situations. 

Q: Crystin, you’re a returning Guest Actor with Charleston Stage! What inspires you to continue to work with Charleston Stage and share your talents with our audiences?

Charleston Stage is family to me. I was a Resident Actor with this company right out of college and that was over a decade and a half ago. They are a company who care for people and the imprint they leave on the world. I will forever return as long as they will have me. 

Q: You are starring as Pearl in Black Pearl Sings!. How has this experience been for you with preparing for this role? This isn’t the first time you’ve played Pearl in a production of Black Pearl Sings!. Please share.

This role is a roller coaster ride of emotions so it mirrors life well. The more living I do, the better I can relate to Pearl’s choices both beneficial and destructive.  

And yes, this will be my second opportunity to bring life to Pearl. This is a sweet treat because it’s not often that an actor gets to revisit a script later in life. I’ve had twelve years of living to add to this character and it shows. I’m beyond grateful to give Pearl her due justice.

Q: What qualities of Pearl do you most connect with?

Pearl is a fighter. She’s also family oriented, loving, a truth speaker, raw and malleable. Most of all she’s flawed, just like me. 

Q: Why do you think Black Pearl Sings! is relevant for audiences today?

Black Pearl Sings! is relevant today because at its core, it shows the struggle between flesh and outside forces. It reminds us to extend grace and look at life from another person’s perspective. This is a story about struggle, race, relationship, identity, truth and acceptance. These are topics we will deal with and conquer until we don’t have to anymore. 

I hope audiences leave with a heart for people, a self evaluation, more grace for themselves and others and an increased capacity of love for humanity. 

Performances of Black Pearl Sings! run March 9th – 27th at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. For tickets, CLICK HERE.