Alabama Shakespeare Will Premiere Minstrel-Show Biography, Nobody, Plus Fall of the House

News   Alabama Shakespeare Will Premiere Minstrel-Show Biography, Nobody, Plus Fall of the House
The Alabama Shakespeare Festival has announced casting for the spring world premieres of Nobody and The Fall of the House, new works developed through ASF's Southern Writer's Project.

Richard Aellen's new musical play, Nobody, about black vaudeville stars Williams and Walker, will run March 12-28, and the Edgar Allan Poe-inspired The Fall of the House will run April 9-25 in Montgomery, AL.

Nobody, according to ASF, "is based on an uncomfortable and important piece of history — the minstrel show — highlighted by the tempestuous lives of Bert Williams and George Walker, who broke racial barriers by portraying racial stereotypes. The two down-on-their-luck African American vaudevillians can't catch a break until they do the unthinkable — don blackface. But with fame and fortune come personal and social turmoil that threaten their relationships and their lives."

The score for Nobody features a number of Williams and Walker's turn-of-the-century vaudeville tunes.

Tim Rhoze (ASF's Bear Country) will direct Nobody, with musical direction by Brett Rominger. James Bowen (Bert Williams) and Sean Blake (George Walker) will be featured. They performed in workshop readings of the play at the Southern Writers' Project Festival of New Plays.

The Fall of the House, written by Robert Ford, is "a darkly sophisticated work that involves a mystic whose supernatural life intertwines with famed writer Edgar Allan Poe and that of a young African-American female architect in the 20th century," according to ASF. "Through movement in time and place over the course of 150 years, surprising personal connections and answers to tragic events are revealed." The Fall of the House will be directed by ASF's associate director and director of the Southern Writers' Project, Nancy Rominger. Rominger directed the debut of Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder's The Furniture of Home at ASF last winter.

Jonathan C. Kaplan, Erika LaVonn, Margaret Robinson, Angela K. Thomas and Gerritt Vandermeer will be performing roles in both world premieres.

Other recent ASF world premieres include Gee's Bend (also by Wilder) and Mark Saltzman's Rocket City. Both plays have been published by Samuel French, Inc.

For information, visit or call (800) 841-4273. ASF is located at 1 Festival Drive in Montgomery's Blount Cultural Park.

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