Shelton State News
Additional Navigation


TUSCALOOSA, AL – Theatre Tuscaloosa will present The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963, December 6-15, 2019, in the Bean-Brown Theatre on the Martin Campus of Shelton State Community College (9500 Old Greensboro Rd).


Based on the Newbery and Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel by Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 has been adapted for the stage by Reginald André Jackson. This funny and deeply moving story about ten-year-old Kenny chronicles the events of a fateful summer for the Watson family of Flint, Michigan. There’s Momma, Dad, little sister Joetta, and teenage brother Byron, who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Concerned about this budding juvenile delinquent in their family, Momma and Dad decide it’s time for Byron to have a lengthy stay with strict Grandma Sands in Birmingham, Alabama. The family piles into their car, “The Brown Bomber,” and heads south—toward a horrific moment in American history: the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.


The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 is being directed by Executive Producer Tina F. Turley and Crystal Lassiter. Turley said, “Working on this production has been such a joy! We have an amazing production team bringing this story to life through imagination and artistry, and we have an outstanding cast full of newcomers to Theatre Tuscaloosa.  One of our returning cast members, Crystal Lassiter (Crowns; A Christmas Carol), is also pulling double-duty as my co-director.”


The production team includes Chandler Brown, choreographer; Andy Fitch, scenic designer; Lyndell T. McDonald, lighting designer; Jeanette Waterman, costume designer; Wheeler Kincaid, sound designer; and Alexandra (Alex) M. Smith, stage manager.


The cast includes Katonio (KJ) Crews, Kaden Crews, Zion Edwards-Momoh, Barbara-Shae Jackson, Indya Joiner, Crystal Lassiter, Zoë Lassiter, Alex Momoh, Kimorra Moore, Khalifa Nunn, Tonya Price, Grace Price, Taril Slater, and LaQuenteshia (Tesha) Whitfield.


Ricky Powell is making a special appearance as Mr. Mitchell/Mr. Robert. An Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame inductee, Powell has an impressive resumé including working with Herbie Mann and the Village People. He has also appeared in the Off Broadway production of Hair and in the Broadway cast of The Wiz.


The 2019-20 season is presented in partnership with Shelton State Community College and is sponsored by The City of Tuscaloosa, The Alabama State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Mercedes-Benz, Claire Friday, and WVUA23. The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 is sponsored by Warrior Roofing and UA Early College. The 2019-20 media partner is Tuscaloosa Radio.


Performance dates and times are as follows: Friday & Saturday, Dec. 6 & 7, at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday and Wednesday, Dec. 8 & 11 at 2:00 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, Dec. 12 & 13 at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14 & 15 at 2:00 p.m. A pay-what-you-can final dress rehearsal will be presented on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m., proceeds of which will benefit the Charlie Dennis Memorial Scholarship Fund.


Tickets are $19 for adults, $17 for seniors and members of the military, and $14 for students and children. Special rates are available in advance for groups of 10 or more. This play is appropriate for all ages.


Tickets and more information are available at or 205.391.2277.




Theatre Tuscaloosa is a 501c3 not-for-profit community theatre located on the Martin Campus of Shelton State Community College. Theatre Tuscaloosa has been enriching the greater Tuscaloosa community since 1971 through quality theatrical productions and educational outreach.