Adapted by Christopher Sergel from the novel by Harper Lee
Directed by Jimmie Woody
One of the most honored and beloved novels of all time comes to life on stage in this tender and powerful adaptation.
Against the backdrop of a small town in the Deep South in the 1930s, racial injustice envelops a community and transfigures one girl's life in astonishing ways.
Jean Louise "Scout" Finch is a young girl in Maycomb, Alabama, who is about to experience dramatic events that will affect the rest of her life. She and brother, Jeremy (or "Jem"), are being raised by their widower father, Atticus, and by their strong-minded housekeeper named Calpurnia. The wide-eyed Scout is fascinated with the sensitively revealed people of her small town — but right from the start there's a rumble of thunder just under the calm surface of life in Maycomb that only gets louder once Atticus decides to defend a young man against the charges of a crime he didn’t commit.
This Emerging Artsist Series production features a multi-generational ensemble of actors, bringing to life Harper Lee's celebrated tale of the innocence lost and the courage found by those who fight injustice.
Background on the Novel and the Stage Adaptation
In 1960, author Harper Lee published what was to become one of the most influential novels in American history, To Kill a Mockingbird. When it was first published, she was told not to expect it to sell more than a couple thousand copies. It quickly became a sensation, and now, over 50 years later, it has never been out of print, has sold over 30 million copies and has been translated into 40 languages (according to its publisher, Harper Collins). The novel also received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961, among other awards garnered over the years. An Academy Award-winning 1962 film adaptation of the novel starred Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.
Upon the publication of her novel, Lee instantaneously became a literary legend. In addition to a condensed version of the story being published in The Reader’s Digest, the book was chosen by the Literary Guild and also picked up by the Book of the Month Club. Many more awards followed including the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Although Lee’s contributions to literature were limited, she achieved what many writers can only wish for even after authoring volumes. For decades after its publication, she refused nearly all interviews and declined to speak publicly about her book, which has become a mainstay of the curriculum of schools the world over. In 2007, President George W. Bush presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Lee for her services to literature. She was also awarded the National Medal of the Arts in 2010. She lived for decades in Monroeville, Alabama — in her distinctly private fashion — until she died in her sleep on Feb. 19, 2016.
Christopher Sergel, who adapted Lee's novel for the stage, was born in 1918 in Iowa City, Iowa, and he lived a life full of adventure. Following his graduation from the University of Chicago, he served in World War II as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Merchant Marines and taught celestial navigation. Later, he spent two years as the captain of the schooner Chance in the South Pacific. Then, as a writer for Sports Afield magazine, he lived in the African bush for a year. In 1970, the same year he began adapting To Kill a Mockingbird for the stage, he became president of Dramatic Publishing, a play publishing and licensing company founded in 1885 by his great uncle, Charles Sergel. During that time, he attracted many fine writers of the 1970s and ‘80s such as Arthur Miller, Roald Dahl, Ray Bradbury and E.B. White. Sergel served as Dramatic Publishing’s president until he died in 1993 at age 75 in Wilton, Conn., from heart failure.
Jean Louise Finch (Scout)
Jeremy Finch (Jem)
Arthur Radley (Boo)/Nathan Radley
Charles Baker Harris (Dill)
SCOTT K. DAVIS
Walter Cunningham Jr.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Assistant Stage Manager
APRIL HELMS and JARED SPARKS
CHELBY BENSON and DAWN SNIADAK-YAMOKOSKI
LOREN "COCO" MAYER
Costume Shop Manager
RICHARD MORRIS, JR
Assistant Technical Director