Greta Lambert as Emily Reed in the 2020 Alabama Shakespeare Festival production of “Alabama Story.” (Photo by Stewart Edmonds)

Alabama Story, the true story of an embattled librarian persecuted for protecting children’s books in the Deep South of 1959, will make its West Virginia debut at Greenbrier Valley Theatre in spring 2023. Kenneth Jones’ humor-laced six-actor history play will run May 12-21 at the Equity company in Lewisburg, WV. It’s the State Professional Theatre of West Virginia.

Casting and creative team will be announced. Given the current cultural climate of books being banned or challenged in libraries across the United States, Alabama Story is seeing an uptick in interest from professional, amateur and school theaters. (At least four productions are already lined up for 2023. It has appeared in more than 40 cities around the country.)

Producers and theater folk can snag a perusal copy of Alabama Story or apply for performance rights through Dramatists Play Service.

Terrell Donnell Sledge and Madeleine Lambert in “Alabama Story” at Alabama Shakespeare Festival in spring 2020. (Photo by ASF 2020 – Photo by Stewart Edmonds)

In 2019, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote, “At a time when intolerance is on the upswing and empathy is under siege, Alabama Story is just the play we need.” The play has been hailed for its highly theatrical, playful, comic and tragic approach to a little-known story of censorship, Civil Rights and American character.

Here’s how Dramatists Play Service characterizes Alabama Story“As the Civil Rights movement is brewing, a controversial children’s book about a black rabbit marrying a white rabbit stirs the passions of a segregationist State Senator and a no-nonsense State Librarian in 1959 Montgomery, Alabama. Meanwhile, childhood friends — an African American man and a woman of white privilege — reunite in adulthood, offering a private counterpoint to the public events swirling in the state capital. Political foes, star-crossed lovers, and one feisty children’s author inhabit the same page in a Deep South of the imagination that brims with humor, heartbreak, and hope.”

Greenbrier Valley Theatre’s producing artistic director is Matthew Scott Campbell. The 2023 season will also feature a new Catherine Bush adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; the Stuart Ross jukebox musical Forever Plaid; Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s Next to Normal; Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling; and A Christmas Carol, adapted from the Dickens novella.

Tickets will go on sale in mid-January. Learn more about Greenbrier Valley Theatre.

William Parry, Stephen D’Ambrose, Seth Andrew Bridges and Greta Lambert in “Alabama Story” at Pioneer Theatre Company. (Photo by Alex Weisman)