BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center will present An Afternoon with National Leaders, followed by a staged reading of “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963” on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013.
U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and former secretary of state, political scientist, author and Birmingham native Condoleezza Rice, Ph.D., will speak at 12:30 p.m. The discussion will be moderated by UAB President Ray L. Watts.
After a 20-minute intermission, the ASC and ArtPlay will present a staged reading of Christina M. Ham’s play “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963,” as part of a nationwide reading, at 2 p.m. in the center’s Jemison Concert Hall, 1200 10th Ave. South. The reading was previously scheduled for 3 p.m.
The combined event is free and open to the public. Tickets are general admission and availability is limited. For tickets, call the ASC box office at 205-975-2787.
In office since 2009, Holder is the 82nd attorney general of the United States. Serving in the administration of President Barack Obama, he is the first African-American to hold the position. He previously was deputy assistant attorney general, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Rice has broken racial and gender barriers in a distinguished career that includes being the first African-American woman to be U.S. secretary of state. As America’s chief diplomat under President George W. Bush, she engaged U.S. partners around the world to promote stability, good governance and democracy.
The ASC and ArtPlay will join Project1Voice, The Kennedy Center and theater companies and groups across the country on Sept. 15 for the nationwide reading of “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963.” ArtPlay’s teen Make It Happen Performing Ensemble and ArtPlay students will participate in the staged reading, along with a multi-generational cast of community actors and performers, directed by Alicia Johnson-Williams. The audience and performers will enjoy a talkback after the show. ArtPlay and the ASC performed a workshop reading of the play in February of this year.
The play portrays Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins, four girls who are bursting with promise and excitement for the future. They share their hopes and dreams against the backdrop of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement until it all comes crashing down when the girls are killed by a bomb while preparing for Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church’s Youth Day service. Commissioned and originally produced by SteppingStone Theatre, “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963” examines the realities of a segregated, politically charged climate through the lives of the children. Project1Voice is a not-for-profit performing arts service organization founded by New York-based actor/producer and Birmingham native Erich McMillan-McCall to nurture, promote, strengthen and preserve the legacy and tradition of African-American theater and playwrights.
Throughout September, the ASC will present special programs commemorating the seminal events of the Civil Rights Movement in 1963. Visit the ASC online at www.alysstephens.org.