Southern Alabama's Intriguing Theatrical, Arts and Musical Allure: Montgomery
Southern Alabama offers a plethora of intriguing theaters, arts, museums and music, in addition to the civil war and civil rights histories. Towns both big and small, such as Montgomery, Birmingham, Selma and Monroeville, encompass a tapestry of music and literature that is inextricably linked to the history of the state's past, as well as a pursuit of fine arts and theater.
The state capital of Montgomery is home to numerous fantastic theaters, museums, performing arts, the Alabama State Capitol and the Hank Williams Museum. For a population of about 400,000, Montgomery is a culturally active city with performances and activities to attend year-round. It is an easy town to get around and a nice and friendly place to visit.
Performing ArtsThe Alabama Shakespeare Festival is a superb performing arts complex located on 250 acres of lush, English-style park grounds and lake in Montgomery, and is built of stunning red brick. The ASF is open year-round with 14 world-class productions each year and three works of William Shakespeare. Additional classic works by famous playwrights, as well as musicals and commissioned plays, fill the yearly schedule of about 400 performances.
The Palladian-style theater features two stages, the 225-seat Octagon and the 750-seat Festival stage. Theater attendees experience a more intimate setting in the Octagon Theater with a half- round seating design and are able to clearly view the actors up close. The Festival stage is a classic design with red velvet graduated seats. It is the perfect theater to watch Shakespeare's plays, such as All's Well That Ends Well and Hamlet. The Montgomery Performing Arts Centre is connected to the fabulous Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center. This state-of-the-art, 1,800-seat arts center hosts top performances of opera, dance, concerts and Broadway shows, such as the musical The Color Purple and musical artists, such as Michael Mc Donald.
Diverse MuseumsThe Hank Williams Museum is located directly across the street from the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. The musical museum is special due to scores of Hank Williams' and his wife Audrey's personnel belongings, albums, cowboy boots, family history, furniture and clothing items on display, even his '52 baby-blue Cadillac.
The museum presents an in-depth look at one of America's iconic country legends, and it's hard to walk away and not feel as if you know the singer and his life. His son Hank Williams Jr. takes an active interest in the museum, and the non-profit foundation that runs the museum does a splendid job in telling the country singer's early years and rise to fame with brilliant lyrics and hits such as, Cold, Cold Heart and Your Cheating Heart.
The Hank Williams Museum is a must-visit if you are in Montgomery and it's certain you'll stroll away after your visit humming one of Hank's tunes if you aren't already. For additional information, visit.
The Montgomery Museum Of Fine Arts is situated on 35 acres of landscaped grounds, fronted by a lovely small lake. Mr. and Mrs. Winton M. Blount donated the land, as well as the land and capitol for the Shakespeare Festival. The MMFA is the oldest fine arts museum in Alabama and houses old master prints, American art, porcelain and glass collections and revolving exhibitions.
From Rembrandt, Goya and Whistler to John Singleton Copley and the revolving exhibitions, such as photographic art portraits, the MMFA is truly an outstanding arts foundation. Moreover, the building architecture of lightwoods, high ceilings, copious amounts of natural light and neutral tone walls sets off the artwork for the best possible enjoyment of viewing. Even the windows are works of art with one particular glass installation by Cappy Thompson entitled Stars Falling on Alabama. Thompson's spectacular installation was created in Germany and is a painted and assembled glass art piece.
AccommodationsIf you plan to visit Montgomery, an excellent hotel that is centrally located and attached to the convention center is the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa. Wonderful, spacious rooms, an excellent restaurant and meeting facilities make this hotel our top pick for the city.
For additional information about Montgomery, Alabama, visit Alabama.Travel
Patrice Raplee is an experienced travel photojournalist and editor of Travel Excursion and Seattle Spotlight for Positively Entertainment magazine. In addition, she writes a monthly travel column for the award-wining site Offbeat Travel. She is a member of North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), International Travel Writers Alliance (ITWA) and the Recording Academy. Her photographs and articles have appeared in numerous international publications, as well as NW newspapers such as the Seattle Times, the Stranger, Seattle Weekly and the Oregonian. As a freelance photojournalist, she has also worked with acclaimed musical entertainers, such as Santana, Billy Joel and Steven Tyler. Patrice travels the globe to cover destinations that feature fascinating culture, art, culinary, history and soft adventure.
All photos by Patrice Raplee