2019-2020 Season | Alabama Shakespeare Festival
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2019-2020 Festival Season

The 2019-2020 Festival Season is engaging, collaborative, and focused on telling meaningful stories that celebrate the human experience.

Join us in embracing our community – one story at a time.

PIPELINE

By Dominique Morisseau

Directed by Ron OJ Parson

October 17 – October 27, 2019
Octagon Stage | 1 hour, 25 minutes; no intermission
Recommended ages 17+

A child’s life hangs in the balance. This mother knows the pitfalls of growing up in her neighborhood — too many chances for her son to become another one of many statistics. But the path to safety and opportunity she’s chosen for him presents a different set of dangers. How will mother and son find their way out of crisis?

With profound compassion and lyricism, Pipeline propels an urgent conversation about the school-to-prison pipeline to the fore. Dominique Morisseau, hailed as the August Wilson of this generation, pens a powerful story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future without turning her back on the community that made him who he is. Every parent, every educator — everyone who is invested in the life of a child and their community — needs to see Pipeline.

Produced in partnership with Equal Justice Initiative.

Pipeline is an emotionally harrowing, ethically ambiguous drama that raises barbed questions about class, race, parental duty, and the state of American education.” – Variety

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

By Barbara Robinson

Directed by Greta Lambert

December 5 – December 29, 2019
Festival Stage | 70 minutes; no intermission
Recommended ages 7+

What happens when the rowdiest kids in town find out there are free snacks at Sunday school? They decide to audition for the annual Christmas pageant! The Herdman kids take over the church’s holiday production and insist on playing all the good parts. They’ve never heard the nativity story, and have no idea who Mary, Joseph, or the wise men are. It’s disgraceful! Silent night? Not a chance, but sometimes a little joyful noise is just what Christmastime needs.

“One of the best Christmas stories ever — and certainly one of the funniest.” – The Seattle Times

ALL IS CALM: The Christmas Truce of 1914

By Peter Rothstein
Vocal Arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach

Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson

December 7 – December 29, 2019
Octagon Stage | 80 minutes; no intermission
Recommended ages 13+

A remarkable true story from the Western Front, Christmas, 1914. In a silence amid the combat, a soldier steps into No Man’s Land singing “Silent Night.” All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 relives an astounding moment in history when Allied troops and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate the holiday together, sharing food and drink, playing soccer, and singing carols. This dramatic retelling weaves together firsthand accounts of 30 World War I soldiers with patriotic tunes, trench songs, and Christmas carols.

“The exquisitely performed All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 is reaching out intimately and powerfully to audiences…a brilliant show that you should see immediately.” – The Daily Beast

Dr. Seuss’s

THE CAT IN THE HAT

Based on the book by Dr. Seuss
Play originally produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain
Adapted and originally directed by Katie Mitchell

Directed by N.D. Seibel
January 11 – January 25, 2020
Festival Stage | 50 minutes, no intermission
Recommended ages 4+

The Cat in the Hat recounts the rainy-day adventures of Sally, her brother, and the most mischievous cat ever! From the moment his tall, red-and-white-striped hat appears at their door, the Cat and his antics transform the kids’ afternoon. Will their house ever be the same? Can the kids clean up before their mom comes home? With some tricks (and a fish) and Thing Two and Thing One, with the Cat in The Hat, the fun’s never done!

Sensory Friendly performance on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

THE AGITATORS

By Mat Smart

Directed by Logan Vaughn

January 30 – February 13, 2020
Octagon Stage | 2 hours, plus intermission
Recommended ages 13+

The Agitators tells of the enduring but tempestuous friendship of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. Great allies? Yes, but at times great adversaries as well. The play follows the young abolitionists after they meet in Rochester in the 1840s, full of hopes and a common purpose. As they grow into cultural icons, their quests for freedom and equality collide, which tests their friendship. They agitated the nation and each other, and by doing so, helped shape the course of American history.

 “…a compelling portrait of two flawed but inspiring agents of change.” – Pioneer Press

AND THEN THEY CAME FOR ME: Remembering the World of Anne Frank

By James Still

Directed by Addie Gorlin

February 9 – February 15, 2020
Festival Stage |1 hour; no intermission
Recommended ages 12+

And Then They Came for Me is a unique theatrical experience. The multimedia play combines videotaped interviews of Holocaust survivors Ed Silverberg and Eva Schloss with live actors recreating scenes from their lives during World War II, including their memories of Anne Frank.

Ed was Anne Frank’s first boyfriend, mentioned in the beginning of her now-famous diary. Eva Schloss was the same age as Anne Frank and lived in the same apartment building in Amsterdam. Her family also went into hiding the same day as the Frank family, and, they too were betrayed. On Eva’s 15th birthday, her family was arrested by the Nazis and sent to concentration camps. Eva and her mother survived, and after the war, her mother married Anne’s father, Otto Frank.

Part oral history, part dramatic action, part direct address, part remembrance, And Then They Came for Me breaks new ground and has been acclaimed by audiences and critics in worldwide productions.

“It’ll stay with you for the rest of your life.” – The Indianapolis Star

ALABAMA STORY

By Kenneth Jones

Directed by Rick Dildine

March 5 – March 22, 2020
Octagon Stage | 2 hours, plus intermission
Recommended ages 12+

It’s 1959, and the civil rights movement is starting to grip America. In Montgomery, Alabama, a gentle children’s book with an apparent hidden message stirs the passions of a segregationist senator and a no-nonsense librarian. A contrasting story of childhood friends — an African-American man and a woman of white privilege who reunited in Montgomery that same year — provides private counterpoint to the public events of the play. Political foes, star-crossed lovers, and one feisty children’s author inhabit the same page to conjure a Deep South of the imagination.

“At a time when intolerance is on the upswing and empathy is under siege, Alabama Story is just the play we need.” – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

RUBY: The Story of Ruby Bridges

Adapted by Christina M. Ham
Music by Gary Rue

Directed by Sarah Walker Thornton

March 6 – March 22, 2020
Festival Stage | 60 minutes, no intermission
Recommended ages 11+

Ruby Bridges was six years old when the civil rights movement came hammering at her door — choosing her as the first African-American child to integrate an all-white elementary school in the South. When white families pulled their children from her class, Ruby and her first-grade teacher, Mrs. Henry, forged ahead undaunted, even while protestors jeered and threatened young Ruby’s life daily when federal marshals escorted her to and from school.

With seven brand new songs inspired by The Shirelles, Sam Cooke, and Smokey Robinson, this play explores a little girl’s unbeatable courage in the face of adversity as she helped lead the civil rights movement up the front steps and into the classrooms of her elementary school in New Orleans. Produced in collaboration with Montgomery Public Schools.

“…relevant, relatable, and interesting to an all-ages audience.” – StPaul.gov

William Shakespeare’s

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Directed by Greta Lambert

March 25 – March 28, 2020
Shakespeare Garden | 75 minutes; no intermission
Recommended ages 10+

“I have had a most rare vision. I had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was.” – Act 4, Scene 1

Four brawling lovers caught unawares in a dispute of increasingly magical proportions; a fairy king and queen engaged in a war of wills; a crew of amateur actors determined to give it their all; and one roguish sprite with orders to intervene…What could possibly go wrong?

Deep in a wondrous forest, it’s a wild night for lunatics and lovers as we dive into Shakespeare’s unforgettable vision of ludicrous longing, lively language, and lasting love. Surrender to the enchanting world of the Bard’s most beguiling comedy in ASF’s idyllic Shakespeare Garden.

William Shakespeare’s

The Comedy of Errors

Adapted and directed by Sean Graney

April 16 – April 26, 2020
Festival Stage | 1 hour, 40 minutes; no intermission
Recommended ages 14+

Innovative director Sean Graney reimagines Shakespeare’s funniest farce about the craziest family reunion ever. Audiences will experience the wildly entertaining tale of a man (Antipholus) and his servant (Dromio) who arrive in Ephesus while searching for their long-lost twin brothers. Everywhere they go, strangers greet them as if they’re old friends. In the end, chaos gives way to clarity in this comedy filled with mayhem and madness. The Comedy of Errors is a theatrical event full of energetic slapstick and lyrical comedy, performed by six actors.

“…With only six characters playing 20 roles, The Comedy of Errors feels like a magic show: You want to know how it works, and you never quite figure it out.” – Centerstage Chicago

I AND YOU

By Lauren Gunderson

Directed by Rick Dildine

April 23 – May 3, 2020
Octagon Stage | 90 minutes; no intermission
Recommended ages 17+

Every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you…
– Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”

One afternoon, Anthony arrives unexpectedly at Caroline’s door bearing a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and an urgent homework assignment from their English teacher. Even though Caroline hasn’t been to school in months, she is as quick and sardonic as Anthony is athletic, sensitive, and popular. As these two let down their guard and share their secrets, this seemingly mundane poetry project unlocks a much deeper mystery that has brought them together. I and You is an ode to youth, life, love, and the strange beauty of human connectedness.

“…sharp and funny. Gunderson taps into a buoyant spirit…the touching ‘barbaric yawp’ (Whitman’s phrase) of these two deeply engaging kids.” –The Washington Post

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s

CINDERELLA

Music by Richard Rodgers | Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
New Book by Douglas Carter Beane | Original Book by Oscar Hammerstein II

June 16 – July 12, 2020
Festival Stage | 2 hours, plus intermission
Recommended ages 7+

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella is the Tony Award-winning musical from the creators of South Pacific and The Sound of Music that delights audiences with its surprisingly contemporary take on the classic tale. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations, and all the moments you love — the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball, and more — plus some surprising new twists! Be transported back to your childhood as you rediscover some of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible,” and “Ten Minutes Ago” in this hilarious and romantic experience for anyone who has ever had a dream.

“A timeless musical treasure!” – Huffington Post

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET

Book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux
Original Concept and Direction by Floyd Mutrux

Inspired by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins

Directed by David Ruttura

August 6 – August 23, 2020
Festival Stage | 1 hour, 40 minutes; no intermission
Recommended ages 12+

The Tony Award-nominated musical Million Dollar Quartet is set on December 4, 1956, when an extraordinary twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley together at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions ever. The production brings that legendary night to life with an irresistible tale of broken promises, secrets, and celebrations that is both poignant and funny. Relive the era with the smash-hit sensation featuring an incredible score of rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, R&B, and country hits, performed live onstage by world-class actors and musicians. Showcased hit songs include “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Walk the Line,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Hound Dog,” and more.

“Lovers of old school rock ‘n’ roll will get a big bang out of Million Dollar Quartet, a mighty slick jukebox musical powered by a dynamite song stack and dynamic portrayals of the four legends singing ’em.” – New Jersey Newsroom