Looking forward to the return of performing arts in Montgomery? We’ve got three exciting events coming up that you don’t wanna miss, including the world premiere of Freedom Rider, a play inspired by the Freedom Rides during the civil rights movement. Keep reading for all the details, including how to buy your tickets.
The Oak Ridge Boys—March 24
Located in the heart of Montgomery, the Montgomery Performing Arts Center (MPAC) is a state-of-the-art facility that hosts concerts, broadway shows, comedy and more.
On Thursday, March 24, The Oak Ridge Boys, one of America’s most iconic quartets, are making their way to the MPAC stage.
You don’t wanna miss out on this exciting night of music, featuring the four-part harmonies and upbeat songs of Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban.
The quartet, who got their start in the 1970s as gospel singers, have recieved many impressive accolades, including a Grammy and awards from the Gospel Music Awards, Country Music Association Awards, Academy of Country Music and more.
They’ve scored 12 gold, three platinum and one double platinum album—plus one double platinum single—and had more than a dozen national Number One singles and over 30 Top Ten hits.
Jim Gaffigan—March 28
Popular stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan is also coming to the Montgomery Performing Arts Center later this month.
Gaffigan has been nominated for 6 Grammy awards for Best Comedy Album, and now has multiple Netflix specials.
His comedy is described as “clean” since it doesn’t involve much profranity, and he often jokes about topics like fatherhood, laziness, food and other random observances.
World Premiere of Freedom Rider
Freedom Rider takes place in May of 1961 and follows the story of four young students who join others aboard a southbound bus in Washington DC to challenge segregated spaces in interstate travel, and ended up changing themselves, and the nation, forever.
Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF) is partnering with The Freedom Rides Museum and the Alabama Historical Commission to bring the history of the Freedom Rides to the stage with immersive exhibits and experiences.
According to ASF, the play is sometimes funny and ultimately uplifting, inspired by real events to celebrate the heroic and watershed journey that the Freedom Riders went on.
The play was written and directed by Ricardo Khan, in collaboration with Kathleen McGhee-Anderson, Murray Horwitz, Nathan Louis Jackson and Nikkole Salter.
Inspired by true events
The actual Freedom Rides of the civil rights movement took place in 1961, when groups of white and Black civil rights activists alike would take bus trips through the south to protest the ongoing segregation of interstate transportation facilities—even after it was ruled unconstitutional.
The protesters were met with aggressive police officers and hundreds of white counter-protesters who made numerous arrests and subjected the Freedom Riders to horrific violence at many stops. The Greyhound bus that the Riders were traveling on was bombed upon arrival in Anniston.
Photographs from the aftermath of the burning bus and bloodied riders made national and even global news, bringing widespread attention to the civil rights movement and US race relations.
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