Production of The Incident at Looney’s Tavern; photo © Alabama Department of Archives & History (used by permission).
Official State Musical Drama of Alabama
Alabama designated "The Incident at Looney's Tavern" as the official state musical drama in 1993. The musical tells the story of Christopher Sheats (a young Winston County school teacher) and the hill people of Alabama, who didn't want to join the Confederacy and struggled against the South's secession, nearly creating "The Free State of Winston" during the Civil War. All Alabama State Symbols
Performed in a 1500-seat amphitheatre in Winston County, "The Incident at Looney's Tavern" is a historically factual musical drama about the most turbulent era in American history. The historic meeting at Looney's Tavern is told in a production that includes music, dance and "hill country humor."
The first performances of "The Incident at Looney's Tavern" were staged in a shopping center parking lot at the Winston County Tourism's Free State Festival in 1987 and were an overwhelming success. The following year brought rewrites and a move to the local football stadium. With the decision made to produce a full-season's run, a group of thirteen families joined to open a new production of the drama in their own theater.
The program was discontinued in the 2000's and the drama is no longer produced. Alabama also recognizes "The Miracle Worker" as the State Outdoor Drama.