You may know Garth Williams for his work on famous children’s books such as Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and the Little House series. One work that you may or may not be as familiar with is The Rabbits’ Wedding. This 28-page book, revolving around a black rabbit marrying a white rabbit, created quite a controversy in Alabama in the late 1950s.
Alabama Story, written by playwright Kenneth Jones, is a hyper-imagined tale that features political foes, star-crossed friends and one frisky children’s author as they inhabit the same page in a Deep South inspired by true events. While the controversial children’s book stirs the passions of a segregationist senator and a no-nonsense librarian, former childhood friends – a black man and a white woman – reunite across town, illustrating a highly theatrical Civil Rights tale that brims with heartbreak, humor and hope. The show stars GVT newcomers John Little as Garth Williams, Amy Baldwin as real-life librarian Emily Wheelock Reed. Completing the cast are Matthew Scott Campbell, Kelsey Waltermire, Henian Boone, and Ian Kramer (Midsummer’s Night)
Jenna Sulecki (Midsummer’s Night) will direct the West Virginia premiere. The production will feature scenic design completed by Richard Crowell, costume design by Jenna Fawn Brown, and lighting design by E. Tonry Lathroum. Sound design is completed by Abigail Coppock, with prop design by Dani Rust. Elizabeth Salisch serves as the Production Stage Manager assisted by Sydnei Williams.
“Alabama Story is as much a story about the 1950s as it about today,” said Sulecki. “More than censorship or civil rights, the play is about the preservation of values and the importance of the free exchange of information that allows us to make informed decisions about which values ought to be preserved.” Jones will join the company for the opening night performance to celebrate the state premiere of the show. He will also offer an artist in conversation following the show with the audience.
“I hope it engenders a kind of empathy about how other people think and feel,” said Jones. “It’s really about treating people well.” Alabama Story opens at GVT on May 12 and runs through May 21. Jones will join the company for the opening night Tickets are $32 for general seating, $29 for senior citizens age 60 and above, and $20 for students. For more information on tickets, shows, and the organization’s history, visit the theatre’s website: www.gvtheatre.org or call the box office at 304-645-3838.