Very Little Theatre, one of the oldest community theaters on the West Coast, will give Alabama Story its Oregon premiere in spring 2024 as part of a seven-title season on two stages. Stanley Coleman will direct Kenneth Jones’ six-actor censorship drama about a librarian persecuted for protecting books in a politically divided “Deep South of the imagination” in the Civil Rights era.
In the 2023-24 season, Alabama Story will get at least 17 productions around the nation, including its 50th booking. The acclaimed play — part history, part comedy, part political thriller, part romance — is published and licensed by Dramatists Play Service.
The fact-inspired script has seen an uptick in interest during the current culture-war climate in which some politicians, parents and citizens are seeking to deny young people access to certain books.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said, “At a time when intolerance is on the upswing and empathy is under siege, Alabama Story is just the play we need.” The Washington Post called it a play of “national relevance.” Read more press quotes here.
Founded in 1929, Very Little Theatre in Eugene, Oregon will present Alabama Story March 29-April 14, 2024. The company’s 2023-24 season also features The Skin of Our Teeth, Talk Radio, Constellations, Clue, Silent Sky and the musical Jekyll and Hyde. Learn more about VLT here.
Here’s how Alabama Story is billed: “As the Civil Rights movement is brewing in Montgomery, Alabama, a segregationist State Senator and a no-nonsense State Librarian clash over the content of a children’s book about bunny rabbits. Meanwhile, a reunion of childhood friends — an African American man and a woman of white privilege — provides private counterpoint to the public events swirling in the state capital. Political foes, star-crossed lovers, and one feisty children’s author inhabit a Deep South of the imagination that brims with humor, heartbreak, and hope. Inspired by true events!”
Alabama Story will get no fewer than four productions in Florida in the coming season, as well as stagings in Illinois, Alabama, Texas, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota and beyond. Its world premiere was presented by Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City in 2015.