A West Virginia Premiere Begins the 2023 Season
By Josh Lapping
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 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 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 newcomer John Little as Garth Williams as well as familiar faces Cathey Sawyer as real-life librarian Emily Wheelock Reed and Matthew Scott Campbell as Senator W. Higgins. Completing the cast are 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.”
Now entering its 56th season, Greenbrier Valley Theatre, is a mainstay and theatre destination located in Lewisburg, WV. The arts organization has been further recognized as a “West Virginia Jewel of the Hills,” awarded the Living the Dream Service Organization Honor Roll by The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, and is a multi-year recipient of Non-Profit Business of the Year. GVT boasts a robust series of year-round programing and educational offers with the goal to enlighten, enrich, and enliven throughout the region.
Alabama Story opens at GVT on May 12th and runs through the 21st.
Playwright Kenneth Jones joins the company for the opening night performance on the 12th and will offer an artist in conversation after the show with the audience.
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.