Powerstories is auditioning for Alabama Story

Alabama Story by Kenneth Jones

Powerstories Theatre in Tampa, FL, is holding auditions for Alabama Story by Kenneth Jones. True events and historical characters inspire this timely new play that touches on books, censorship, freedom to read, and Civil Rights issues in “The Deep South of the Imagination.”

THE 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. A contrasting story of childhood friends—an African American man and a woman of white privilege, reunited in adulthood—provides 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—inspired by true events! Playwright Kenneth Jones characterized Alabama Story this way: “It’s a political thriller, a memory play, a workplace drama, a romance, a history, a tearjerker, a comedy, a discussion about race, censorship, and political will. Most importantly, it’s a play about how we behave when we face terrible circumstances — how character is revealed in times of transition, change, and crisis.”

Performances: The Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Shimberg Playhouse, January 11-21, 2024

Auditions: LAB Theatre Project, 812 E Henderson Ave, Tampa, FL 33602, on October 10 & 12, with Callbacks on October 14

Rehearsals: Begin the week of November 12, 2023

Compensation: Non-union, actor stipend.

To Audition:

Characters: 4 men, 2 women

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, 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.