Boutwell Auditorium’s 100th Anniversary celebration
News ImageBy Latino.Black Media    |    2024-03-11

The City of Birmingham, Make It Happen Theatre Co., and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will kick off the Boutwell Auditorium’s 100th Anniversary celebration in 2024 by staging a production of the Christopher Paul Curtis book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963, adapted by Reginald André Jackson. The theatrical production will open with an exceptional school performance on Friday, March 15, 2024, at 10:00 a.m., and a public performance on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. at the Boutwell Auditorium.

An award-winning book published by Christopher Paul Curtis in 1995, The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 leads audiences on a narrated journey of 10-year-old Kenny Watson (Nalin Reed), who is incessantly teased, bullied, and manipulated by his big brother, Byron (Alston J. Benedict), while their baby sister Joetta (India-Rayne Toyer) is the family angel. After Byron makes another dangerous decision, parents Daniel and Wilona Watson (Brandon McCray and Delores Byrd Smith) get fed up with his antics. Summer comes, and they pack the entire family up to visit Wilona’s hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, hoping that Wilona’s mother, Grandma Sands (LaShanna R. Tripp), will set Byron on the right track before it’s too late. What awaits them all is a life-altering tragedy no one could have ever seen coming.

Under the direction of Make It Happen Theatre Company founder and Artistic Director Alicia Johnson-Williams, who is known for producing stellar community theatre productions such as The Wiz, Dreamgirls, and Bubbling Brown Sugar, The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 will reinforce the ancient African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child.”

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s activism addressed injustices in education and health, and building strong families and communities,” said Johnson-Williams. “As we experience a major paradigm shift in our society, it is very important that we find positive ways to engage our youths and steer them towards resources and outlets that will build great character to help them discover their identity and their place in the world.”

Admission to The Watsons is $10 for students and $20 for adults. Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite at The public performance will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. at the Boutwell Auditorium, 1930 Rev Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35203. For more information, call 205-325-5074.

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