Alabama Story

written by Kenneth Jones

February 8th-24th SOLD OUT

Due to Overwhelming Response, All Performances Are Now Sold Out

directed by Stephanie Hickling Beckman

When Alabama Senator E.O Eddins Sr. (renamed E.W. Higgins in the play) learns that The Rabbits’ Wedding, a book targeted at children aged 3-7, is among the books available for check-out in the Montgomery state library, he determines to have it banned from the Alabama public library system on the grounds that the book is subliminal propaganda for interracial marriage. The Rabbits Wedding (still in print), written and illustrated by Garth Williams, features the marriage of two rabbits – one white, one black. Eddins engages Emily Wheelock Reed, the director of Alabama’s public library service, in a conflict that became known as the “bunny book crusade”. He threatens her library budget, grills her in the Alabama state legislature, and demands her resignation, while Reed stands her ground, and book sales skyrocket. Ultimately, Eddins’ actions contribute to Alabama’s already struggling political climate.

A secondary story involves the chance meeting of two childhood friends who grew up together, yet were separated because of an incident that happened when they were children. He is black and she is white. As Joshua and Lily reminisce about the past, Joshua’s nostalgia has its limits, while Lily has all but erased the incident from her memory. It is the story of two people forced to reconcile their memories, their perspectives, and their realities.

Alabama Story is under the direction of Stephanie Hickling Beckman, and Stage Management of Nathan Singer. The play features Molly Graves, Jon Mendenhall, and David Mycoff, with Daniel Henry, Sonia Rose D’Andrea, and Bjorn Goller.

Alabama Story, playwright Kenneth Jones’ new six-actor play inspired by real events that touch on Civil Rights and censorship issues in “the Deep South of the imagination,” had its world premiere Jan. 9-24, 2015, at Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, UT. Artistic director Karen Azenberg directed the production, which earned rave reviews, standing ovations and unprecedented ticket sales for a new work at PTC. Five regional productions were presented in 2016, introducing the world to a little-known true story of a librarian persecuted for protecting books in the Jim Crow South.


pictured (starting front row, clockwise) Bjorn Goller, Sonia D’Andrea, Molly Graves, Daniel Henry, David Mycoff, and John P. Mendenhall. Photo Courtesy of Sean David Robinson Photography


written by Lee Blessing

June 14th-28th

directed by Kristi DeVille

Staged with utmost simplicity, the play probes into the delicate relationship of three singular women: the grandmother, Dorothea, who has sought to assert her independence through strong-willed eccentricity; her brilliant daughter, Artie (Artemis), who has fled the stifling domination of her mother; and Artie’s daughter, Echo, a child of exceptional intellect—and sensitivity—whom Artie has abandoned to an upbringing by Dorothea. As the play begins, Dorothea has suffered a stroke, and while Echo has reestablished contact with her mother, it is only through extended telephone conversations, during which real issues are skirted and their talk is mostly about the precocious Echo’s single-minded domination of a national spelling contest. But, in the end, after Dorothea’s death, both Artie and Echo come to accept their mutual need and summon the courage to try, at last, to build a life together—despite the risks and terrors that this holds for both of them after so many years of alienation and estrangement.
Sensitive and probing, this masterful play examines the subtle and often perilous relationship between three remarkable women: a young girl, her mother, and her grandmother. “…a play and a production of a caliber rarely seen on the Philadelphia stage…the language is elegant, witty and carefully wrought.” —Philadelphia City Paper. “…an engrossing 95-minute entry—alternately funny and poignant…” —Variety. “It is a wonderful job of playwriting.” —Minneapolis Star and Tribune. “…a funny, perceptive and eloquently written play…” —St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch.

Every Brilliant Thing

written by Duncan MacMillan

August 9th-25th

starring Mondy Carter
directed by Karen Stobbe

Buy tickets for Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan McMillan

You’re six years old. Mum’s in hospital. Dad says she’s “done something stupid.” She finds it hard to be happy. So you start to make a list of everything that’s brilliant about the world. Everything that’s worth living for. 1. Ice cream. 2. Kung Fu movies. 3. Burning things. 4. Laughing so hard you shoot milk out your nose. 5. Construction cranes. 6. Me. You leave it on her pillow. You know she’s read it because she’s corrected your spelling. Soon, the list will take on a life of its own. A play about depression and the lengths we will go to for those we love.

“[A] heart-wrenching, hilarious play…One of the funniest plays you’ll ever see about depression—and possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop…There is something tough being confronted here—the guilt of not being able to make those we love happy—and it is explored with unflinching honesty.” —The Guardian (UK). “EVERY BRILLIANT THING finds a perfect balance between conveying the struggles of life, and celebrating all that is sweet in it.” —The Independent (London). “What Macmillan offers, with great sensitivity behind the abundant laughs, is a child’s fierce, flawed attempt to make sense of adult unhappiness and a meditation on the shadow that a loved one’s depression casts over the lives of a family.” —Evening Standard (London). “…very charming…offers sentimentality without shame…guaranteed to keep your eyes brimming…[The script] balance[s] acuity and affability…with unobtrusive artistry…captivating…” —NY Times. “[EVERY BRILLIANT THING] is sad, but it is also gloriously funny and exceptionally warm. It’s a show that spells out a little of what depression can do to people, but it also highlights the irrepressible resilience of the human spirit and the capacity to find delight in the everyday.” —Time Out (London).

12 Angry Jurors

written by Reginald Rose

October 4th-20th

directed by Stephanie Hickling Beckman

Buy tickets for 12 Angry Jurors - by Reginald Rose

A 19-year-old man has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. “He doesn’t stand a chance,” mutters one of 12 jurors. It looks like an open-and-shut case—until another of the jurors begins opening the others’ eyes to the facts. “This is a remarkable thing about democracy,” says the foreign-born juror, “that we are notified by mail to come down to this place—and decide on the guilt or innocence of a person; of a man or woman we have not known before. We have nothing to gain or lose by our verdict. We should not make it a personal thing.” But personal it is, with each juror revealing his or her own character as the various testimonies are re-examined, the murder is re-enacted and a new murder threat is born before their eyes! Tempers get short, arguments grow heated, and the jurors become angrier and angrier. The jurors’ final verdict and how they reach it—add up to a fine, mature piece of dramatic literature.
Originally set in 1956 and titled 12 Angry Men, the once all-white, all male play has been updated to a more modern setting and features  diverse cast of men and women

Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective Inc. is a 501(c) 3 certified non-profit organization committed to Making Theatre, Building Community, Facilitating Awareness, and Changing The World, (One Play at a Time). We believe that audiences look to the arts to see beyond themselves and their own boundaries. We believe the arts are a valuable educational tool capable of bridging cultural and social gaps. We believe the arts are a catalyst for social change and transformation. We will  increase and sustain opportunities for more diversity within the Western North Carolina performing arts community, by producing, and working with other performance artists or groups to present works which confront issues of social diversity in a provocative way; and by providing opportunities for audiences to explore visions of our diverse world.


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