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Alabama Shakespeare Festival Enter for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Theatre Tuscaloosa advances to national contest with "Launch Day" production

Ebony Wesley (left) and Amaria Jackson in Theatre Tuscaloosa’s world premiere production of “Launch Day” by Michael Higgins, which will be featured at the national American Association of Community Theatre Festival in June 2023.
Photo by Porfirio Solórzano
Ebony Wesley (left) and Amaria Jackson in Theatre Tuscaloosa’s world premiere production of “Launch Day” by Michael Higgins, which will be featured at the national American Association of Community Theatre Festival in June 2023.

Theatre Tuscaloosa’s production is advancing to the nationals. After winning the Alabama Community Theatre Festival in November of 2022 and being named “Best Production” in the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) Region IV Festival in the beginning of March, Theatre Tuscaloosa’s “Launch Day” will perform and represent Alabama in the national American Association of Community Theatre Festival.

Steven Yates (left) and Hallie Grace Hamner in Theatre Tuscaloosa’s world premiere production of “Launch Day” by Michael Higgins, which will be featured at the national American Association of Community Theatre Festival in June 2023.
Photo by Porfirio Solórzano
Steven Yates (left) and Hallie Grace Hamner in Theatre Tuscaloosa’s world premiere production of “Launch Day” by Michael Higgins, which will be featured at the national American Association of Community Theatre Festival in June 2023.

Adam Miller is the Managing Director for Theatre Tuscaloosa. He shared what the production has achieved. “We are fortunate enough to be selected to represent region IV B of AACT, which includes the states of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Of all those states, our show was selected to go to nationals and represent our region. So, Theatre Tuscaloosa’s theatre production of Launch Day is going to nationals.”

Sam Hodo (left) and Brandy Johnson in Theatre Tuscaloosa’s world premiere production of “Launch Day” by Michael Higgins, which will be featured at the national American Association of Community Theatre Festival in June 2023.
Photo by Porfirio Solórzano
Sam Hodo (left) and Brandy Johnson in Theatre Tuscaloosa’s world premiere production of “Launch Day” by Michael Higgins, which will be featured at the national American Association of Community Theatre Festival in June 2023.

“Launch Day” is a futuristic play set in 2108. Miller said the production “has a variety of different stories lines... but all of them have this true line of what is humanity, what is love, and who are we in relationship with technology.”

The national AACT Fest will be held June 12-17 in Louisville, Kentucky. Theatre Tuscaloosa, performing the winning production, is preparing to travel with the whole cast and production team. Since they are a nonprofit organization, they are seeking support from the community.

“We have got to raise funds to go. It is very, very expensive to travel a show across the United States, and to put up our actors in hotels, pay for meals, transportation, and all the expenses that come with it," Miller said. "So, we have launched a fundraiser campaign that is available on our website, where people can contribute through PayPal and make a tax-deductible donation to help send our cast, our local actors, to nationals."

The Tuscaloosa community can also support Theatre Tuscaloosa attending shows, going and supporting the work the cast is putting up. Adam Miller is the Managing Director for Theatre Tuscaloosa. He says being a nonprofit organization, most of the cast and production is made up of local volunteer performers.

“These are people who have day jobs, who work, who are students, who come together with Theatre Tuscaloosa to purse a passion, which is performance," he explained. "These folks are not paid a dime for their participation in Launch Day, and they have been involved since September of last year. They continue to be involved with it out of the goodness of their heart because they believe in the show. They believe in theatre. They are excited to contribute this brand-new work to the canon of theatre,” Miller said.

Aside from winning “Best Production,” Theatre Tuscaloosa won “Outstanding Costumes,” designed by Jeanette Waterman; “Outstanding Makeup and Hair,” designed by Ava Buchanan; “Outstanding Sound, ”designed by Charles Prosser; and “Outstanding Scenic Design” designed by Jameson Samford. The actors Kazarious Brown and Mileidy Crespo-Jones won “Outstanding Achievement in Acting.”

Members of the LAUNCH DAY team pose with the trophy at SETC: Adam Miller (front), Second row from left: Amaria Jackson, DeAnthony Mays, Tina Turley, Jessica Briana Kelly, Kazarious Brown; third row from left: Brandy Johnson, Gabriel Carden, Mileidy Crespo-Jones, Ashlyn Lambert, Ebony Wesley, Sam Hodo, and Seven Yates.
Theatre Tuscaloosa
Members of the LAUNCH DAY team pose with the trophy at SETC: Adam Miller (front), Second row from left: Amaria Jackson, DeAnthony Mays, Tina Turley, Jessica Briana Kelly, Kazarious Brown; third row from left: Brandy Johnson, Gabriel Carden, Mileidy Crespo-Jones, Ashlyn Lambert, Ebony Wesley, Sam Hodo, and Seven Yates.

Valentina Mora is a student intern at the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. She is an international student from Colombia at The University of Alabama. She is majoring in Communicative Disorders and Foreign Languages and Literature. She is part of the Blount Scholars Program and is also pursuing a minor in Music. Although she is not studying to become a journalist, Valentina enjoys reporting, interviewing and writing stories.
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