Powerstories Theatre is thrilled to announce auditions for its inaugural production of the 24th Season in 2024 – ALABAMA STORY. This marks a significant moment in the theatre’s history as it embarks on a journey to bring thought-provoking theatre directly to its community on different stages despite no longer having a physical theatre space.
In a Season themed, “Critical Issues Take Center Stage,” ALABAMA STORY revolves around the powerful and timely theme of book banning. This subject resonates deeply with the current societal discourse on freedom of expression and the role of literature in our lives. The play promises to engage, challenge, and inspire audiences as it delves into the story of a fearless librarian who finds herself at the heart of a controversy surrounding a controversial children’s book
Set in 1959 in the Deep South, ALABAMA STORY is a compelling exploration of the clash between literature, censorship, and the pursuit of knowledge. The narrative skillfully intertwines historical events with fictional characters, offering a riveting and thought-provoking experience.
At the heart of ALABAMA STORY lies the complex and poignant relationship between childhood friends, African-American Joshua Moore and privileged white woman Emily Wheelock Reed. Their deep connection, rooted in shared memories and a bond formed in their early years, becomes a central element of the play’s narrative. As they navigate the tumultuous landscape of the Deep South during intense racial tension, their friendship is tested in profound ways, highlighting the broader themes of race, identity, and societal expectations.
Director Sheri Whittington explains the significance of the 1950s story in the heart of book banning in 2023, “ALABAMA STORY is a prime example of history repeating itself. The compelling story takes us to Montgomery, Alabama, an epicenter of the civil rights movement. Montgomery is the home of Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. The playwright Kenneth Jones has brought us this story about a relatively unknown hero, Emily Wheelock Reed, the State Librarian. She fought the state for a children’s book to stay on the shelves of Alabama libraries. Her fight for free speech, intellectual freedom, and the First Amendment may have seemed more subtle, but it was just as important in achieving the social and judicial changes of that time. Her bravery and courage are truly inspirational as we face the same issues more than sixty years later.”
Powerstories Theatre seeks talented actors, 4 men, and 2 women, to bring this captivating story to life.
Auditions for ALABAMA STORY will be held on October 10 and 12 at Lab Theater Project, 812 E Henderson Ave, Tampa, FL 33602, from 6-8 PM. Callbacks will be on October 14. Actors of all backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to participate. Roles are available for a diverse range of characters, each with its unique depth and complexity. Actors are requested to prepare a one-minute contemporary monologue and complete an audition form to select an audition date: https://forms.gle/HdHVUTi6ayftZ7mp6
Available roles include:
GARTH WILLIAMS (and OTHERS): 50ish or older, a white writer and illustrator from the East Coast. Frisky, sardonic, dry, funny, deadly serious, and omnipresent – when practical. He also assumes the roles of aged, sickly Alabama State Representative BOBBY CRONE; sincere Montgomery newspaper reporter HERSCHEL WEBB; fiery segregationist columnist HENRY BRANCH; a folky RADIO ANNOUNCER; and two silent PASSERSBY. Requires a charismatic chameleon actor with range and gravitas.
LILY WHITFIELD: 32, a white woman from small-town Alabama privilege. Genteel Alabama accent. Politically unversed, she is the product of (and enjoys the benefits of) a racist system and has not questioned it. Sheltered, ashamed, loyal, religious, garrulous, charming, unhappily married, sentimental, all façade, ready to blossom.
JOSHUA MOORE: 32, upwardly mobile middle-class African-American man who left Alabama years ago, settling in the north after serving in the Army. Purposely subtle and suppressed Alabama accent, which becomes pronounced when agitated. He is politically active, aspirational, loyal, kind, worldly, happily married, slow to boil, susceptible to nostalgia without getting lost in it, a disciple of Dr. King.
SENATOR E.W. HIGGINS: 50ish or more, a white Alabama State Senator. Pronounced Alabama accent. He is an active racist, a charmer, a bully, a bull, a poisoner, and a politician. Most of what he says is rhetorical or performative. Not as smart as he thinks he is, but influential. He is never sorry. An extrovert.
EMILY WHEELOCK REED: 50ish or more, a white female librarian, the State Librarian of Alabama, born in North Carolina and raised in Indiana. No Southern accent. She has no sense of humor, she does not suffer fools, she is all business. When cornered, fallible. When her vulnerability is accessed and her heart unlocked, a person of good character is revealed. An introvert.
THOMAS FRANKLIN: 28, a white male reference librarian, Emily’s assistant. Pronounced Alabama accent. Buttoned-up, genteel, educated, officious, efficient, slightly uncomfortable in his own skin. Neutral and objective when conveying information. The kind of man you want as your colleague or your son.
Rehearsals begin the week of November 12. All performers will receive a non-equity actor stipend.
Says Whittington about the importance of such a relevant show, “Many of us believed that the issues centering around individual freedoms had been taken care of in America and were part of our history. We had won those fights and could put them in the past. We now know that we can never take them for granted. Alabama Story is more than a cautionary tale; it is a core model of how one person can courageously stand up and use their voice to make a difference. May we all find such courage.”
Powerstories Theatre invites all actors passionate about storytelling and committed to addressing critical social issues to audition. For more information and to register to audition, please visit https://powerstories.com/auditions-2023-as. Someone will contact you to schedule your audition time.