Nashville Children’s Theatre (NCT) continues its 84th season with the stirring true story of “Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott,” opening Thursday, Feb. 25 and running through March 13. Six decades after the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rosa Parks is remembered as “The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement”; with deep intensity and uplifting songs of the struggle, the play tells Rosa’s uniquely moving American story.
“This production isn’t a historical presentation,” says Guest Director Jon Royal, “It’s the real story of a men and women, who identified a problem in their community, and sought positive means to bring dignity, and fairness to their lives. Maybe the problems that we face today are different, but hopefully the lessons that we learn from these brave souls, can help us bring about a better world. Just like they did.”
“Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott” was written by Sue Greenberg. Greenberg was originally commissioned by the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre Company to write the play. The script was revised and expanded for The Coterie Theatre in Kansas City, Mo. The Coterie and NCT were both named in the top five of theatres for young audiences in the U.S. by TIME magazine.
Royal, who has performed in several NCT productions, makes his NCT directorial debut with this show. Tamiko Robinson Steele, making her NCT debut as Rosa Parks, leads the cast. Also on stage with NCT for the first time are Latrisha Talley as Coretta Scott King and Claudette Colvin, as well as Rashad Rayford who will be portraying Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Raymond Parks, Rosa’s husband. Returning to NCT are Lauren Jones, playing Jo Ann Robinson, James Rudolph as E.D. Nixon, Denice Hicks as Virginia Durr and Bobby Wyckoff as Reverend Graetz and the Bus Driver.
Music Direction will be handled by award-winning vocalist Connye Florance (BET Jazz Vocalist of the Year, 2000). The production also has scenic and lighting design by Scott Leathers; costume design is by Patricia Taber; multi-media design is by Colin Peterson; and sound design is by Dan Brewer.
School performances, weekdays at 10 and 11:45 a.m., are selling quickly. Weekend performances are open to the public, scheduled at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays Feb. 28 through March 13, and reservations are recommended. There is no Saturday performance on Feb. 27. Individual weekend ticket prices are $15 per child (ages 2 to 17), $20 per adult; group, senior, educator, and military discounts are also available. A homeschool performance is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on March 9, and a sign-interpreted performance is scheduled for March 25 at 2 p.m.
A preview performance is available Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at a discounted rate of $7 per child and $15 per adult.
A Sensory Friendly performance is available Saturday, March 12 at 2 p.m. This performance is open to the public and is designed to be a safe and accepting environment where children with disabilities and their typically developing peers are free to speak and move in reaction to the story being told onstage. For all performances, NCT provides a Comfort Room in the back of their theater where audience members can always adjust both light and sound levels.
For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.nashvillect.org or call (615) 252-4675.
Funding support for “Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott” is provided by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Thanks to funding from the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Memorial Foundation, the Shubert Foundation and the support of many local individuals and organizations, NCT continues to ensure that all audiences can experience theater through physical accessibility, sensory friendly and sign-interpreted performances, and a financial assistance program for students and families.
*Photo by Colin Peterson courtesy of Nashville Children’s Theatre.