Nine area high school students from seven South Alabama schools earned a trip to a statewide competition when they won awards during the Region 1 competition of Poetry Out Loud (POL), an annual recitation contest sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

The Nov. 20 event in Bernheim Hall at the Ben May Public Library was organized by the Mobile Arts Council, which coordinated POL activities in Region One in partnership with the library.  

Students competed in two categories, reciting either original poems or poems selected from the official POL anthology. The POL administrative agencies in Alabama, the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Alliance added the original poetry component to the state program for arts education.

The champion and runner-up in the original poetry contest were both from Butler County schools: Turner Vickery (sophomore, Georgiana School) and Joseph Price (junior, Greenville High School). Honorable mentions were awarded to Ma Jai Luster (Davidson, Mobile County), Noah Dryton (Mary G. Montgomery, Mobile County) and DeJanae Adams (McKenzie, Butler County).

In the anthology contest, Andrew Williams (senior, Robertsdale High School) earned the title of champion, reciting poems by Katherine Philips, Edgar Allan Poe and William Shakespeare. Runner-up Laun Pryor (sophomore, Greenville High School, Butler County) selected works by William Collins, William Butler Yeats and Richard Wilbur. Honorable mentions were awarded to Danielle Tyus (Georgiana, Butler County) and Lauren Pierce (McKenzie, Butler County).

The state contest is slated for Monday, Feb. 15, at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery. In April, the winner of the state anthology competition will move on to the national contest in Washington, D.C., where the top prize is $20,000.

Chickasaw breaks out holiday plaids
Few things seem as popular in traditional lower Alabama as plaid during the holidays. Now the Chickasaw Civic Theatre brings out all the plaid you need, a whole ghostly ensemble of them, when they stage “Forever Plaid” in early December.

The Plaids were a doo-wop quartet on the verge of stardom. A gig at the Airport Hilton’s Fusel Lounge was to be their big break, but when their cherry Mercury convertible is T-boned by a busload of Catholic teenyboppers bound for the Beatles’ debut, the boys head to the great beyond.

Now they are back from the Big Dressing Room in the Sky and ready for one last chance at musical fame. The show is awash in the music of an era long gone, with standards like “Three Coins in the Fountain,” “Chain Gang,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Heart and Soul,” “Rags to Riches” and “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing.”

Mary Jo Alsip directs this warm comedy by Stuart Ross. The cast features Tim Tolar as Jinx, Ian Weaver as Francis, Steve Alsip as Sparky and Scott Wright as Smudge.

Show dates are Dec. 4-6 and Dec. 11-13 at the Lola Phillips Playhouse (801 Iroquois St.).

Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $15, $12 for seniors and students. Cash and local checks only.
Reservations can be made at, which accepts credit cards.  
For more information, call 251-457-8887 or go to

Murder mystery under the mistletoe
Mobile Mystery Dinners is ready to relieve some holiday anxiety with a little bloodshed and a lot of laughter with its latest presentation, “Who Killed the Boss at the Christmas Party?” The comedic whodunit takes place Friday, Dec. 4, 7 p.m. at the Mobile Carnival Museum (355 Government St.).

The rough plotline unfolds at the Christmas shindig for the legal firm Dewey, Cheatum and Howe as a community’s roster of movers and shakers assemble for raucous good time. Even a state senator is rumored to be on the guest list.
As is always the case for MMD stories, someone ends up kicking the mistletoe-filled bucket and it’s up to the audience and other characters to solve the crime.

Special guest star Venus Shante DaViss will perform. The cast of 10 is directed by Carol Dunn. Sound is supplied by Port City Media.

The duration of the event is three hours and it includes a tour of the museum and a catered meal by Naman’s Catering. An unlimited wine bar runs from 6:30 p.m. until the end of the play.

The evening of food and fun costs $59 per guest.

For more information or reservations, call 251-865-7398 or go to

Exploreum hosts gift hunt by trolley
The Gulf Coast Exploreum has come up with a way to spur camaraderie and cross some gifts off your holiday list with its first annual Holiday Shoppers Trolley Trek. On Thursday, Dec. 10, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. you can catch a ride to some of Mobile’s best cultural centers for a unique shopping excursion.

The first stop is the historic Bragg-Mitchell Mansion on Springhill Avenue. From there the trolley heads to the international chocolate store at the Gulf Coast Exploreum. The next stop is the Mobile Museum of Art in Langan Park where there will be an art market in addition to the regular gift shop.

Refreshments and treats are available at each stop. Space is limited, so reservations are essential.

Tickets are $20. They are available via a link at or by calling 251-208-6893.