Happy Father’s Day week, everyone! (Don’t forget to spoil dad this weekend). This week’s calendar is once again packed with great events for everyone in the family. From the Tuscaloosa County UA Alumni’s annual wine tasting event to the United Way’s Day of Action to all of the great live musical acts set to perform in and around the city, be sure to get out and enjoy yourself.

And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

By Nicole Hall

When you think about tobacco marketing, I am sure you might think about the handsome cowboy, Camel Joe, or maybe even the Flintstones, who were once hired in the old days to promote a certain brand of cigarettes. The youth of today are not faced with television ads, billboards, or commercials, but rather a new marketing tactic called “point of sale.” Point of sale marketing takes place where the items are sold. Think about the last convenience store you went into. What did you see? If you take a moment to look at your surroundings, it’s hard to miss. I assure you, young, intrigued eyes take notice, as they are quite observant. The bright packaging. The discounts. The fruity flavors. They take it all in, just like the tobacco companies want them to.

By Annie Ellis

Everyone’s favorite little red-haired orphan and her adorable dog, Sandy, are heading to the Bama Theatre stage June 2-4, when The Actor’s Charitable Theatre (ACT) presents the musical “Annie.”

“Annie” is based on Harold Gray’s popular comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” which premiered in the 1920s in the New York Daily News, becoming one of the most widely-read strips in the ‘30s and ‘40s. The original 1977 Broadway production of “Annie” ran at the Alvin Theatre (now renamed the Neil Simon Theatre) for 2,377 performances for nearly six years and won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and Choreography.

Although it’s set in 1933 New York City during the Great Depression, “Annie” is full of joy and laughter. Ever-optimistic Annie is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City orphanage that is run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. When Annie’s luck turns around with an invitation to spend the holidays with cranky billionaire Oliver Warbucks, she warms his heart. Warbucks offers a reward to anyone who can prove they are Annie’s parents, and Miss Hannigan, partnering with her con artist brother Rooster and his girlfriend Lily, attempt to strike it rich with this unique situation. But in the end, Annie finds the family she always dreamed of with Daddy Warbucks, his secretary Grace Farrell, and her lovable pooch, Sandy.

The rags-to riches story of “Annie” is well-known – it has been translated into 28 languages, played in 34 different countries, and has been made into three movies (in 1982, 1999, and 2014). At least a dozen members of The ACT’s “Annie” cast and crew have been involved with past shows of “Annie.”

So, how does The ACT plan to make this “Annie” fresh and new?

“Although cheesy at times, it is a beautiful story,” said Joey Lay, The ACT’s artistic director, who has already been a part of four versions of “Annie” in his theater career. “I am going simplistic with the set to allow the beauty of the story to come through. And our show will feature innovative, new choreography that is unique to this production.”

According to choreographer Benji Stockton, who spent ten years performing in Atlanta with The Aurora Theatre and with Six Flags Over Georgia, it’s important to make things updated and tell the same story but in a fresh, new way.

“People either know the 1982 movie version, one of the many Broadway revivals (each a bit different in their own unique, creative way), the 1999 movie, or the 2014 movie (again, each one different),” Stockton said. “I wanted to give people something that they have not seen before, as far as choreography is concerned. I do give respectable nods to the original 1977 Broadway show, 1982 movie, 2012 revival, and even the 2014 movie version.”

Playing the title role of Annie is Caroline Gibson, a sixth grader at Echols Middle School, who has appeared in 12 other local theater productions since the age of eight. In addition to acting on stage, Caroline plays the piano, guitar, and ukulele, and is an accomplished vocalist who has competed in singing competitions across the Southeast.

Sandy, the stray mutt who becomes Annie’s faithful friend, will be played by Pharaoh, a four-year-old terrier mix, who, like Sandy, has her own successful adoption story: two years ago, she was adopted from the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter.

 

If You Go:

“Annie”

Bama Theatre

Friday, June 2, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 3, 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 4, 2:00 p.m.

Ticket prices:  Adult $20, Senior $18, Student $16, Kids $12

To order tickets:  TheACT.info or (205)393-2800; Enter this special discount code when you order online to receive $2 off each ticket:  Dcity

Every house has a story. Every home, a voice. Every day, I am in contact with families with the urge to move – sometimes up in size, sometimes to something cozier, less time consuming. 

Some people are drawn to the history of a place. Others are in search of something brand new. But over time, even those new homes become worn and weathered by voices and footsteps carved by those who inhabited them. 

Greetings, all. Here’s to yet another outstanding week of exciting events here in Tuscaloosa and Northport. This week, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy yourself.

And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

**NOTE: Time and date change for Bark in the Park 2017: Because of a threat of severe weather on Saturday, March 25, Bark in the Park has been *moved* to Saturday, May 13.**

Tails will be wagging as Tuscaloosa welcomes Bark in the Park back for another year. The event will be held at Will May Dog Park and Sokol Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 13.

The family-friendly event returns with crowd favorites, like the dog parade, obstacle course, photo opportunities and more. Kim Parker, the 2017 Bark in the Park chairwoman, said the event is a perfect community gathering. 

Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra will present their annual Family Discovery Concert featuring a story by Lemony Snicket on March 10. This year, children of all ages will help a detective solve the mystery of The Composer is Dead with music by Nathaniel Stookey and story by Lemony Snicket. Joey Lay of The Actor’s Charitable Theater will bring the role of the detective to life and help children learn how the orchestra works together to solve the mystery. Hometown legend Demondrae Thurman will conduct the TSO, bringing his vibrant style to the stage for this enchanting performance.

Spring break is a week for making memories. It’s a much-needed 168-hour recess from school for students and teachers, and a time to get out and revel in the fresh air and sunshine.

It’s often a chance for area families to make tracks out of town. But what about those who’re staying in Tuscaloosa during their time off? The area has plenty of options to choose from, and all of them will keep the kids off the couch. Tuscaloosa area schools will be out from March 13 through March 17, so what better time to get out and have some fun within the community?

This week offers plenty of great opportunities to get out and enjoy all that our great city has to offer. Whatever you do, we hope it is relatively stress-free and enjoyable.

Have a great week!

And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

When the summer heat is a thing of the past, Alabama comes alive to celebrate together. Whether you want to enjoy great food, ride a train, or take your dog for a run, you can find a great event to attend in Alabama.

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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