Alabama Story, the six-actor drama by Kenneth Jones in which real and fictional characters leap off the history pages and into “the Deep South of the imagination,” will get its Texas premiere in spring 2018 by Southwest Theatre Productions in Austin. Artistic director Kat Sparks will direct the play.
Exact dates, cast and creative team for SWTP’s Alabama Story will be announced in early 2018 for the May 2018 run at the Scottish Rite Theatre in Austin. The play was a 2016 nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, a 2014 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference Finalist and set box office records for productions in Salt Lake City and Sarasota, FL. Licensing is arranged directly through the playwright. Request a perusal copy here.
The drama — a mix of courtroom thriller, memory play, romance and social-justice drama — tells the true story of an Alabama librarian named Emily Reed who was persecuted by segregationist politicians for protecting a children’s book in the Jim Crow South of 1959. (The book, Garth Williams’ “The Rabbits’ Wedding,” concerns the marriage of a black rabbit and a white rabbit.) The battle between Reed and Sen. E.W. Higgins made international headlines.
Famed children’s author Garth Williams is an interloper in the highly theatrical play, taking on a number of supporting roles. A parallel story to the library drama concerns the reunion of childhood friends Lily and Joshua, a white woman and an African American man who meet in 1959 and recall a tragic event from their childhood in rural Alabama.
American Theatre magazine cited Alabama Story for its “freshly relevant themes.”
By the end of the current 2017-18 season, the play will have been seen in 17 markets around the country since its 2015 world premiere by Pioneer Theatre Company. (The San Jose cast was recently revealed, as were cast and creatives for the Clarence Brown Theatre production in Tennessee.)
Learn more about the history of Alabama Story.
A resident professional theatre that has performed at different spaces throughout Austin, Southwest Theatre Productions gives a portion of its proceeds to charitable groups. The company’s next production is Steven Levenson’s If I Forget Jan. 19-Feb. 4, 2018.