'Four Little Girls' explores lives of bombing victims
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
Although Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair were killed in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, they come alive in "Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963," a play that explores their lives, one-week before the bombing.
‘Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963’
What: Play tells the stories of four girls killed by a bomb in 1963 in Birmingham, Ala.
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: Actors' Warehouse, 608 N. Main St.
Tickets: $6 or two for $10, at the door or by phone
Info: Call 352-871-0064.
Rhonda Wilson, founder and artistic director of Star Center Children's Theatre and the Actors' Warehouse, said the play is suitable for families. "It's an educational piece to facilitate discussion," said Wilson, who also directs the play.
Produced by the Star Center Children's Theatre, "Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963" by Christina Ham, begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, at Actors' Warehouse, 608 N. Main St. Tickets, which are $6 or two for $10, will be available at the door or by calling 352-871-0064. Ham is an award-winning Minnesota playwright and the recipient of the 2012-2013 McKnight Artist Fellowship Advancement Grant, which provides a $25,000 cash award and other funds for play development.
Wilson said the play centers around the individual stories of Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair during the week leading up to the Sept. 15, 1963, bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Wilson said the play is punctuated with gospel music and music from the civil rights movement.
The 17-member cast includes Erneshia Pete playing 14-year old Cynthia; Desirae Wallace as 14-year-old Addie Mae; Asha Lewis as 11-year-old Denise; and Meleaya Merriman as 14-year-old Carole. Cast members also include: Jade Hines, Jasmine Fleming, Hyla Marlin, Briana Reichard, Meghan Reichard, Kadence Reichard, Crystal Farbero, Jahnae McGriff, Lamont Wallace, Antoine Turner, Lanecia Wallace and Kavouris Coles
"It's doesn't focus on the bombing," Wilson said about the play. "It's about their lives, hopes and dreams."
Wilson said the girls were not activists or trying to be martyrs. They were four little girls doing what little girls do; things like talking about boys, playing with dolls and thinking about growing up. Wilson said Denise wanted to be a doctor, Carole was looking forward to a cotillion, Cynthia wanted to be a math teacher and Addie Mae wanted to be a professional baseball player.
"I hope families discuss the play but don't feel hatred or bitterness," Wilson said. "I want them to think about their legacy, what they want to leave behind."