Even someone with a little knowledge of the job can tell you that killing a robin is a sin.
Despite Atticus Finch’s cleverness, the producers of the latest Broadway adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” have announced that Broadway’s highest-grossing U.S. drama is not returning. Production ended in January when actor Jeff Daniels announced he was leaving the show.
Originally, writer Aaron Sorkin (“The White House”, “The Social Network”)’s stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel was scheduled to resume on June 1.
According to emails obtained by The New York Times, the decision appears to have come from producer Scott Rudin, who decided against the apparent wishes of Sorkin and director Bartlett Schell not to remake the New York production. The New York Times reported that the collaborators had previously accused Rudin of bullying.
“I want (the Broadway show) to reopen. It’s going to be lovely. It’s a fantastic production,” Richard Thomas, who played Finch on the show’s tour, told the Des Moines Chronicle. “Right now, we’re American (producing) Robin.”
“How does it feel to play idol”
The touring “To Kill a Mockingbird” will continue to perform across the country until July 2023 at the latest. The tour will arrive at the Des Moines Civic Center at 221 Walnut Street on Aug. 23, with eight shows running through Aug. 28.
Yaegel T. Welch, the backup for Tom Robinson (arguably the black man on trial in the story’s most pivotal sequence), is reprising the role on Broadway.
“I made a version of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ to get my (the actor’s) equity card in Boston, so it’s a character that’s been with me all the time,” Welch said, noting his concern about the The character was intrigued the moment he heard the show was about to start a tour.
Mary Badham plays the eccentric Mrs Dubose, the novel’s narrator and protagonist Jean Louise “Scout” Finch in this 1962 classic Finch), a performance that earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the age of 10.
“Mary Badham was a Boy Scout. She was a great addition, a cherry,” said Thomas, best known for playing John Boy on “The Waltons.” “We talked about (the original film) at the beginning, if she had insights or she wanted to say – we shared those things during rehearsals.”
As Thomas goes on to describe, this Sorkin adaptation not only offered a different script from the 1962 film, but also offered Thomas a different Atticus character.
“I think people get excited about seeing Richard Thomas…he’s one of those actors who’s different every night and is very honest,” Welch said. “Working with him was a real experience. enjoyment.”
Actor Gregory Peck helped make the character Atticus Finch famous in popular culture, and his iconic performance defined mainstream roles and earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1962.
“People ask what it’s like to be an idol, and you can’t be an idol. You play a human,” Thomas explained. “Aaron Sorkin kind of took him off his pedestal. He’s not this knight in shining armor. He’s a guy who is going through the process of losing his ideals somehow.
“Taking the material as a whole, without sacrificing the spirit of the novel…he puts the story in the light of our present perspective on issues of social justice and upbringing.”
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“As soon as we had to take a break for COVID-19, what happened to George Floyd”
As Thomas and Welch point out, in the period between when the touring cast was supposed to start performing (June 2020) and the show actually began touring in March of this year, social justice issues have come to the forefront of the national consciousness question.
“Once we had to take a break from COVID-19, what happened with George Floyd, what happened with Breonna Taylor,” Welch said. The audience is predominantly white, and they can now see how real (Tom Robinson’s case) is. “
Welch’s relationship to his character has also changed over the past few years, with racial injustices more prominent across the country.
Welch explained, “I think this has evolved into a higher level of empathy for me as a citizen of the United States, and having witnessed these injustices in footage that is happening in the black community, it has become more immediate.”
In both the text and the film based on it, while Tom Robinson is an important character, he and other black characters didn’t necessarily have much agency in previous versions of the story.
“My character Tom Robinson got more agency, some of which I didn’t want to spoil,” Welch said of some of the changes Sorkin brought to the adaptation. “He had to make some choices that made the outcome even more heartbreaking… This version of To Kill a Mockingbird is not a book. Not a movie. It’s a slice of Aaron Sorkin’s life centered on the trial of Tom Robinson .”
Another standout that the cast said was significantly enhanced in this version is Chicago actress Jacqueline Williams’ role as Finch’s housekeeper, Carl Ponia, whose role Welch called the “core” of the adaptation. .
“I like the way (Sorkin) has moved the Calpernia and Atticus relationship forward,” Thomas said. “They have a wonderful relationship together.”
In a country where individuals are increasingly socially conscious, and at the same time — at the same time — texts like “To Kill a Mockingbird” have been the subject of re-examination in some schools, Welch wants viewers to experience it for the first time This story time or the 15th, they were able to take something away from the show.
“If you leave with empathy, I hope we can be more proactive,” Welch said. “You don’t have to be gay to support gay rights. You don’t have to be trans to support trans rights. You don’t have to be female to support women’s rights. And you don’t have to be black to know that black lives matter.”
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“The main thing I remember about Des Moines…I love the audience”
This will be Welch’s first visit to Des Moines. The actor had originally planned to perform in the city as part of the tour’s “Gone Play”, but had to miss the Des Moines show.
For Thomas, this is the third time he has come to the city with a tour. He has previously appeared in “12 Angry Men” and “Humans.”
“(Touring) has been very rewarding for me,” Thomas said. “It’s a very old way of performing collectively for actors, going from town to town, performing for the locals…things don’t get stale, but you’re always reinventing yourself .”
While his performance may vary from city to city, Thomas expects at least a few aspects of the places he’s been since his last tour to remain the same.
“I wish Fong’s Pizza was still open. I told the whole company, ‘You have to go to Fong’s,'” said Thomas, about a block from the Civic Center, which is open late.
While Thomas enjoys tasting the restaurants unique to his respective cities, he also mentions roaming the wide streets of Des Moines and being popular with audiences here.
“The main thing I remember about Des Moines is that both times I played there I liked the audience — they were enthusiastic. They were enthusiastic. It was great to play with them,” Thomas said. “I hope that’s still the case because I tell everyone I love playing in Des Moines and I don’t want to be proven wrong.
Tickets for the show range from $40 to $175 and are available through desmoinesperformingarts.org.
Isaac Hamlet covers arts, entertainment and culture for the Des Moines Register.Connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-600-2124, follow him on Twitter @Isaac Hamlet.