Bear Country, a Montgomery Hit, Will Play Birmingham in August

News   Bear Country, a Montgomery Hit, Will Play Birmingham in August Alabama Shakespeare Festival's hit production of Bear Country, about local coaching legend Paul "Bear" Bryant, is going on the road — or at least up the road a piece.
Rodney Clark as Bear Bryant
Rodney Clark as Bear Bryant Photo by Phil Scarsbrook

A limited ASF run of the play by Mike Vigilant will play Birmingham's historic Virginia Samford Theatre Aug. 6-20. Birmingham is a 90-minute drive from ASF's home in Montgomery. Bear Country — about the life and times of University of Alabama's legendary football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant — received its world premiere at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival Jan. 9-Feb. 22, 2009, and became the best-attended and highest-grossing play in the 24-year history of ASF's Octagon Theatre. In its six-and-a-half-week run at ASF, Bear Country played to 98 percent capacity.

Written by ASF chief operating officer Vigilant, Bear Country "highlights the wit and wisdom of Paul W. Bryant, who rose from the child of dirt-poor sharecroppers to become the standard by which college football players are judged."

Bear Country was originally commissioned for the theatre's Southern Writers' Project, which creates and promotes the telling of Southern stories on the stage.

In Birmingham, Bear Country will feature three of its four original cast members, with Rodney Clark again playing Coach Bryant, and John Patrick Hayden and Yaegel T. Welch assuming a variety of roles. William Peden will join the cast as Young Coach Bryant.

The Virginia Samford Theatre is located at 1116 26th Street in Birmingham. Ticket prices range from $38 to $45. Tickets are on sale now. Call (800) 841-4273 or visit www.asf.net.