Carolyn Messina appearing in reading of new play by ‘Alabama Story’ playwright

Carolyn Messina (bottom right) in “Hank Williams Lost Highway” at Florida Repertory Theatre. (Photo/Joe Dafeldecker)

Alabama’s Carolyn Messina, whose extensive work on Birmingham stages includes shows at City Equity Theatre, Terrific New Theatre, Town and Gown Theatre, Birmingham Festival Theatre and Birmingham Children’s Theatre, will next be part of a staged reading of a new play by the writer of “Alabama Story.”

Carolyn Messina.

Messina, fresh off a run of “Hank Williams Lost Highway” at Florida Repertory Theatre, will be part of the reading of “Ten Minutes on a Bench” May 3 at 7 p.m. It’s part of Florida Rep’s PlayLab, a Festival of New Works.

Jones describes the show as a comedy about a series of first dates, all on the same park bench. Based in New York, his plays include “Tennessee Williams Drank Here” and “Hollywood, Nebraska,” among other works.

Jones’ “Alabama Story” focuses on Emily Wheelock Reed, a state librarian who fought against book censorship and book banning during the civil rights era. A finalist in the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, the play has been seen in more than 70 cities in the U.S., after early development at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

Jones initially was introduced to Messina’s work through another Alabama playwright.

“I first saw Carolyn Messina’s rich artistry in the world premiere of Audrey Cefaly’s ‘Alabaster’ at Florida Repertory Theatre, and I knew I wanted to work with her one day,” Jones said. “I’m so lucky that Florida Rep was able to cast her in the reading of my new comedy. She’s an actress who can do anything, and this play requires that, as it allows each actor in the company to play four or five characters each.”

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