Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is yesterday’s and today’s stage story – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Broadway called “To Kill a Mockingbird”‘s Broadway National Tour a “History-Making Work,” a word that, in my opinion, has been describing Harper Lee’s powerful story for decades, whether it’s Narrated from the page or stage.

Now for a limited Chicago run through Sunday, May 29 at the James M. Nederlander Theater at 24 West Randolph Street, this latest adaptation is penned by Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin and directed by the director of this version of the play. Additional Perspectives provided, as directed by Tony Award-winning Bartlett Sher based on Harper Lee’s classic novel.

On Broadway, the lead role of Father Atticus Finch was originally played by actor Jeff Daniels, whose hometown is Logans, Indiana, after a pre- and post-pandemic shutdown by Greg Kinnear. Potter.

On this national tour, Richard Thomas of “The Waltons” early TV personalities does a great job as attorney Atticus, and Sorkin’s inclination for the story has an impact on Atticus’ character and his understanding of what’s unfolding And the explanation of the event was further cross-examined by his side. Representatives of the estate of Harper Lee (she died in 2016, just two months before her 90th birthday) argued with Sorkin that his interpretation of the script and characters was “too far from the 1960 novel”, leading to a dispute between the two sides Legal disputes occurred between the two parties.

Before Sorkin’s adaptation, the previous stage treatment was approved for the theatrical version, which began reaching audiences in 1970. The last time I saw a theatrical production of an outdoor summer show in Chicago was in 2015, before that at Steppenwolf’s Upstairs Theater, which I saw with my parents on Halloween 2010. Like many others, my first encounter with Lee’s character was on my requested high school reading day, which in my case was Mrs Walker’s advanced literature class in 1988.

Produced by Barry Diller, the national tour features adult actress Melanie Moore as young narrator Scout Finch, and it’s a great show , as she tries to understand her father’s logic and his interpretation of the way he handles the evil deeds of the local people. their community. Chicago actress Jacqueline Williams is Calpurnia, the family’s housekeeper, and given the extended approach to the characters, much of it takes place during her nearly three-hour second act. During the exchange at halftime.

Justin Mark, also an adult actor, is Scout’s brother, Jim Finch, and another adult actor, Steven Lee Johnson, is neighbor boy Dill Harris (Lee is based on her childhood with Truman Capote). friendship). Yaegel T. Welch is Tom Robinson, defended by Atticus, when accused of rape, as conveyed in a powerful courtroom scene by accusing Joey Collins of Bob Ewell and Arianna Gayle Stucki of cringing Mayella Ewell victim. Travis Johns is the enigmatic neighbor Boo Radley, an enigma in the young man’s imagination.


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The story follows the complicated journey of Jem and Scott as they witness the fate of their father when he is appointed to defend Tom, a black man accused of assaulting a white woman in Alabama in 1934.

The 1962 film version, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus, came out the year after the book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. As a riveting cinematic nod, on this national tour, Oscar-nominated Mary Badham stars as “the 10-year-old Boy Scout,” who appears opposite Pike in the feature film and is cast as the Acid Neighbor Mrs. Dubose. Wow, is she persuasive?

Dryde was one of many other readers who reached out and wanted to hear my review of the new adaptation. From a descriptive analysis, previous stage versions included a child actor in a child role and an adult actress as an “adult” scout serving as a narrator as she reflected on the events of the story. Sorkin’s character structure eliminates the need for an “adult scout” role because it’s handled by an adult actress who plays the young scout, and she does it well. There are also characters from the original series that have now been eliminated, such as “cake bake neighbor” Maud Atkinson and reclusive neighbor Bo Radley’s brother Nathan.

To Kill a Mockingbird held the record for highest-grossing Broadway history in the U.S. since it opened at the Schubert Theater on November 1, 2018, and before Broadway closed in March 2020. On February 26, 2020, To Kill a Mockingbird became the first-ever Broadway play to be performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City in front of approximately 18,000 students in New York City public schools, also a single performance A play in a world drama with the largest number of people. The show resumes full performances on October 5, 2021, and concludes at the Schubert Theater on January 16, 2022.

Like every time I watch the show, it changes your mind and spirit, seeing the world around you in a different way, past and present, through the eyes of Lee, Sorkin, and others, sparking Huge discussion and discovery.

Tickets at www.broadwayinchicago.com or www.tokillamockingbirdbroadway.com or 800-775-2000 range from $35 to $149.

Philip Potempa is a journalist, published author and Marketing Director of Centre Theatre.he can pmpotempa@comhs.org.

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