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Alicia Grace Takes Over for Hailey Kilgore in The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963

The new work will play the Kennedy Center.

Alicia Grace will star in The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963.
(photo provided by the Kennedy Center)

Alicia Grace will star in the Kennedy Center's The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963, a world-premiere adaptation by Christina Ham of Christopher Paul Curtis's Newbery Medal- and Coretta Scott King Award-winning book, featuring music by the late Darius Smith. The staged concert production will run March 15-24 in the Eisenhower Theater.

Grace will replace the previously announced Hailey Kilgore in the role of Joetta "Joey" Watson. Kilgore has departed because of a scheduling conflict. The company also includes Tichina Arnold (Everybody Hates Chris), J. Bernard Calloway (Memphis), Chad L. Coleman (The Wire), Dante Myles Hoagland (The Last O.G.), Isabell Monk O'Connor (The Gospel at Colonus), Nova Y. Payton (the Kennedy Center's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), and Justin Weaks (the Kennedy Center's Long Way Down). Faye M. Price will direct. Erika Rose will play Watson's role on April 23.

The musical, according to a press release, "tells the tale of the Watson family of Flint, Michigan — Momma, Dad, little sister Joetta, big brother Byron, and ten-year-old Kenny — and their bond and endurance amidst one of the darkest periods in America's history. When Byron can't stay out of trouble, the whole family piles into their 'Brown Bomber' and drives south to visit Grandma Sands for the summer. But along the way, they'll experience a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement."

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