Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been popular since its publication in 1960. Millions have read the Pulitzer Prize winning novel and since it was adapted into a film in 1962, still more people have discovered the classic. Many people have never seen the stage version, though. This weekend, the Surry Arts Council offers an opportunity to change that when the production begins a three-day run on Saturday.
Director John Adams hopes that people take the opportunity, “I think this is one of the best and most important plays we’ve done at the Andy Griffith Playhouse” he says. Adams was drawn to the play because of the story, “We’ve all read the book or seen the movie, and the play is yet another great retelling of this story. I don’t know of any other work that succeeds as a book, a film, and a play.”
He thinks that one of the reasons it succeeds is because of the enduring story it tells: “This is a story about race relations in our country during the Great Depression, and it was written at the dawn of the Civil Rights movement. The themes we’re dealing with are timeless, and as relevant today as they were 50 years ago, or even 100 years ago.”
Adams, who has worked with actors all over the country, is thrilled with his cast and crew. “We have a cast and crew of over 25 people, all from the surrounding area, and the level of talent we have here is amazing.”
Bringing the story to life are: Anika Burgess as Jean Louise “Scout” Finch; Django Burgess as Jeremy “Jem” Finch; Max Barnard as Dill; Mark Donnell as Atticus Finch; Shane Smith as Calpurnia; Heather Elliott at Miss Maudie; Susan Lawrence as Miss Stephanie; Jane Tucker as Mrs. Dubose; Chip Pulliam as Arthur “Boo” Radley; Todd Gerber as Sheriff Heck Tate; David Nielsen as Judge Taylor; Jerome Temoney as Reverend Sykes; Abby Brady as Mayella Ewell; David Taylor as Bob Ewell; Myron Simmons as Walter Cunningham; Eric Jennings as Mr. Gilmer, the prosecutor; Garry Wadell as Tom Robinson; Annette Easter as Clerk of the Court; Gregory Matthews as Link Deas; and Tom Beckom as Nathan Radley.
Rounding out the cast are Peyton Alexandria, Evan Barnard, Autumn Blakemore, Diane Blakemore, Claire Grider, EvaMarie Nicholson, Tanesha Smith, and Rebekah Taylor. Joining Adams on the production team are assistant director Melissa Venable,, stage manager Betsy Manieri, Ken White handling lighting, sound, and set duties and Bruce Burgess working on the set.
To “Kill a Mockingbird” shows at the Andy Griffith Playhouse on Saturday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 23, at 3 p.m. and Monday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 or $5 for students with ID and can be purchased online (www.surryarts.org), at the Surry Arts Council office (218 Rockford Street) or at the box office prior to the show. For additional information, contact the Surry Arts Council at (336-786-7998).