Aesthetically Speaking

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Great American History Theatre celebrates Black History Month with the timeless and riveting classic exemplifying the necessity of doing what is right, To Kill a Mockingbird. The all-new staging of this American classic of race and justice runs February 5, 2004 – March 12, 2004. The Great American History Theatre celebrates Black History Month with the timeless and riveting classic exemplifying the necessity of doing what is right, To Kill a Mockingbird. The all-new staging of this American classic of race and justice runs February 5, 2004 – March 12, 2004.

Christopher Sergel’s engrossing adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird is set in a small town in Alabama. Sergel shifts the focus from Scout, the young girl learning about racism to her father, Atticus Finch, a +++++ lawyer defending black Tom Robinson in 1935 accused of a terrible crime and is faced with death. Scout must deal with the reaction of the community. Through her eyes we are witness to a society struggling with the issues of race and justice, and the deep divisions boil over during one of the most riveting courtroom scenes you’ll witness on stage!

This bold production features multi-ethnic casting and minimal scenery, both of which highlight the timeless nature of this American classic! “I wanted our audiences to look at the play differently. Although the play takes place in 1935 in the south – and at a time when it would be unlikely to have a Latino sheriff (Heck Tate) or to see Bob Ewell’s daughter portrayed by an Asian-American woman – I wanted our audiences to see the world in which they now live — reflected back to them. When we first opened last year, many students and teachers questioned this approach. ‘Well, it wouldn’t be historically accurate.’ True. But ‘theatre’ by its nature should be more than just entertainment. It should challenge our assumptions. Make us think beyond the expected,” explains director Ron Peluso. For in-depth interviews about the production, visit the Great American History Theatre website at www.historytheatre.com.

This production will be Stephen D’Ambrose’s ninth consecutive appearance returning to his critically acclaimed role as Atticus Finch. Also returning: Christopher Carlson with a disquieting portrayal of hatemonger Bob Ewell with Jeany Park playing Ewell’s frightened, confused daughter, Mayella. Scout will be portrayed by Lauren Zubert. The veteran cast also includes Patti Shaw, Tyrone Lewis, Pedro Bayon, Lavina Erickson, and Christopher Gabriel.

“To Kill a Mockingbird takes us into the world of our segregated past and reminds us how far we have come,” says Peluso. “So much of it is about understanding and tolerance, whether it’s Boo Radley or Tom Robinson. It’s a great story of race and justice, and it’s one of the themes we have at the theater. It’s really from Harper Lee’s perspective, with her father as the reluctant hero. For us, it’s a great educational tool,” Peluso said in a recent Pioneer Press interview.

About the book.” “To Kill a Mockingbird” was published in July 1960. By 1962, a paperback of “To Kill a Mockingbird” was out. The next year an acclaimed movie version of the book was released, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. In 2002, Harper Lee’s Alabama period piece, possibly the best-selling novel of the 20th century was re-released in paperback.

About the History Theatre. Great American History Theatre is a nonprofit, professional theatre in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, devoted to creating and producing plays about Minnesota, the Midwest and the diverse American experience. For more information about the History Theatre’s 2003-2004 season, contact the box office at (651) 292-4323 or check the History Theatre’s website at www.historytheatre.com.

February 5, 2004
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