80-minute stage parody of ‘The Crown’ coming to Charlotte’s Stage Door Theater

By Beth Mack

October 18, 2022

Shortly after word spread about the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, many mourners turned to the popular Netflix historical drama series The Crown, to remember the late queen. The Crown follows the story of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding to Prince Charles in 1947, her ascension to the throne following the tragic passing of her father in 1952, and wraps season four in 1990. The series balances dramatized historical events with royal family drama, including Princess Margaret’s relationship woes, nods to Prince Phillip’s infidelity, and the scandalous relationship saga of Prince Charles III and Princess Diana. While fans of the show await the highly anticipated release of season five, Charlotteans can indulge in The Crown Live!, a parody of the show coming to the Queen City from October 18 through October 23. 

Elizabeth Arends and Brendan Murphy in ‘The Crown Live!’ Photo: Geraint Lewis

The Crown Live! is the most recent creation from Olivier award-nominated comedic writer and performer, Daniel Clarkson. Most known for his Harry Potter parody, Potted Potter, Clarkson takes comedic aim at England’s beloved monarch in this spoof on Netflix’s The Crown. Originally called The Crown Dual, The Crown Live! made its debut in London’s King’s Head Theater in March 2019 to a sell-out crowd. 

“This was originally conceived back in the summer of 2018, over far too many drinks while at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland,” said Clarkson. “So it seems I have a talent for taking other people’s years of hard work, sweat and toil and condensing it into an 80-minute stage parody. My mother is so proud.” 

Daniel Clarkson (R) alongside Jeff Turner (L), co-creators of Harry Potter parody, ‘Potted Potter.’

The show, which covered the first two seasons of The Crown, was a hit, landing a stint at Edinburgh’s Fringe Theater and a second run in London. A year later in March 2020, Clarkson officially changed the name of the play to The Crown Live! and planned a world tour that unfortunately never came to be. Undeterred, Clarkson took time during the pandemic to add material to spoof season three and put into motion a U.S. tour.   

Directed by Owen Lewis (Eric and Little Ern), The Crown Live! focuses on Beth (Elizabeth Arends), a clueless, young struggling actress with an infatuation with the royal monarchy. The show picks up as Beth has been “unfairly” turned down from auditioning for the role she deems herself born to play, none other than her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, from the hit series The Crown. Wallowing in her sorrows she solicits the comfort of her useless agent Stanley Diamond (Brendan Murphy). Obsessing over the role, Beth acts out her take on the ascension and life of Queen Elizabeth II based on the first three seasons of The Crown, coercing Stanley to play the other roles ranging from Prince Phillip, Princess Margaret, and even her majesty’s beloved Pembroke Welsh corgis.

Brendan Murphy and Elizabeth Arends in ‘The Crown Live!’ Photo: Geraint Lewis

Clarkson enlisted fellow Brits, Murphy and Arends to star in the show. Murphy, an original cast member, is no stranger to parodies, having worked with Clarkson previously in Potted Potter. In addition to acting, he is a practiced comedic improviser and parody writer himself, most noted for FRIEND (The One With Gunther) a Friends parody. While Arends may be new to the production, she has both television credits (Lethal Weapon, New Amsterdam, Coronation St)  and movie credits (On Wings of Eagles, Alone, Abruptio) to her name. 

Whether you are a longtime fan of The Crown or are new to the series, you will be in for a royal treat. Charlotte’s Stage Door Theater is the second stop on The Crown Live!’s four-city U.S. tour and will host seven performances of the show. 

The Crown Live! comes to Charlotte’s Stage Door Theater from October 18-23

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