GALVESTON, TX -- The stage version of Harper Lee's 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird will be presented by the Montana Repertory Theatre at Galveston's Grand 1894 Opera House on Saturday, Mar. 14.
Set in a sleepy southern town in the 1930s, To Kill a Mockingbird follows Atticus Finch, an upstanding attorney and widowed father of two young children, as he quietly but resolutely stands against his fellow townspeople by defending a young black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view," says Atticus, a teacher of his neighbors as well as his children, "until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
For his 1962 film version of this indictment of bigotry, playwright Horton Foote won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay; Gregory Peck won for Best Actor.
Trivia note: Atticus Finch was based on Amasa Lee, Harper Lee's father. In the afterglow of the best-selling novel, the Pulitzer, the movie, and an invitation to dine with President John F. Kennedy at the White House, Lee sent his daughter a congratulatory telegram with the observation, "You'll have to go some to beat this one."
The Montana Repertory Theatre serves as the professional theatre-in-residence at the University of Montana. Greg Johnson, artistic director since 1990, directs To Kill a Mockingbird. It might be worth noting, as a point of contrast, that the actor playing Atticus, Mikel MacDonald, has in the past been John in Oleanna (Madison Repertory Theatre), Claudius in Hamlet (Colorado Shakespeare Festival), and Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire (Utah Shakespearean Festival). To Kill a Mockingbird plays Mar. 14 at Galveston's Grand 1894 Opera House. For tickets, $14.50 - $32.50, call (800) 821-1894.
-- By Peter Szatmary