February 1 - March 7
Tickets start at $25
About the Play
The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963
based on the book by Christopher Paul Curtis
adapted by Cheryl L. West
directed by Mikael Burke
February 1 - March 7, 2020
a family rooted in love
When the Watsons load their young children into the car for the long drive from Michigan to visit family in the Deep South, they take their Green Book to help plan for the prejudice encountered by black people traveling in Jim Crow America. What they don’t expect is to find themselves caught up in an act of violence that will go down in Civil Rights history. Strength and love help them face their struggles and find a path forward in this powerful drama for the whole family.
APPROXIMATE RUN TIME: 1 hour and 10 minutes, with no intermission
The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 is a Civil Rights-era family drama that contains mild onstage violence, strobe, haze, loud noises, images of the Ku Klux Klan, and a dramatization of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. Recommended for patrons 5th grade and above. Due to content and length, children under 4 years of age are not permitted in the OneAmerica Mainstage and Upperstage Theatres. Learn more about our attendance policies here.
“The IRT has a long history of bringing great books to the stage. Cheryl West’s adaptation of Christopher Paul Curtis’s award-winning novel is a prime example of how the IRT tries to choose plays that will speak directly to students but also to their families. The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 is focused on our nation’s fraught Civil Rights history, but it also provides opportunities for parents and children to discuss some of today’s most pressing issues: racism, class struggle, violence, and a culture of hate. At the same time, it demonstrates the enduring power of family, love, and community.”
–Richard J Roberts, Resident Dramaturg
The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 is part of our new INclusion Series celebrating diverse storytelling. This series features work by female playwrights on the Native American, African American, and Chinese American experience. The full series consists of And So We Walked: An Artist’s Journey Along the Trail of Tears, The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 and The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin.