To Kill a Mockingbird

6th Street Playhouse, Santa Rosa
Runs through May 19, 2019

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Cecilia Brenner and Jeff Coté
Photo by Eric Chazankin

Like so many of my generation, I read “To Kill a Mockingbird” when I wasn’t much older than the fictional Scout—that the protagonist was a young girl, coming of age in the Deep South, learning about discrimination and prejudice while also being taught empathy, was huge, making an indelible impression on my mind. When the film came out in 1962, with Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, so faithful to the tone and imagery of the book, it cemented the story in my heart for all time, melding my coming of age with Scout’s, encouraging my own commitment to truth and justice.

Since then I’ve seen several stage productions of Christopher Sergel’s adaptation, valiant and heartfelt attempts to replicate the book’s effect on an entire nation. However, none succeeded to the extent that the current production at 6th Street Playhouse does—it’s a triumph, a definite cut above the others, combining thoughtful understanding of the book and script with effective staging and stirring music to deliver Lee’s timeless message, yet again—hopefully for new generations as well as my own.

Sergel’s adaptation follows Lee’s literary device of memory, placing pre-teen Scout (Cecilia Brenner) as the protagonist, remembered by her adult self Jean Louise (Ellen Rawley), who provides narrative for the events, her dialogue closely excerpted from the book. Scout, her older brother Jem (Mario Giani Herrera), and friend Dill (Liev Bruce-Low) spend the summer of 1936 in their small Alabama town enjoying their usual mischiefs, being reprimanded by housekeeper Calpurnia (Val Sinckler) and kept in line by widowed father, attorney Atticus (Jeff Coté).  . . .

To continue reading about this production, see the full review at Talkin’ Broadway:
To Kill a Mockingbird