GALVESTON, TX – Either theatergoers on this dormant Texas isle of 60,000 have a particular affinity for To Kill a Mockingbird or somebody didn't check the calendar. Galveston College Theatre is reviving the stage version of Harper Lee's 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel April 16 - 19 and 23 - 26 at the Strand Theatre. Montana Repertory Theatre just presented it March 14 a stone's throw away at the Grand 1894 Opera House.
Just in case you're wondering, there are no other sanctioned theaters in Galveston.
In any case, tickets for the Galveston College Theatre production cost $12; for the earlier Montana Repertory Theatre mounting, seats ranged from $14.50 - $32.50. So maybe this "repetition" is cost effective in a way.
Montana Repertory Theatre serves as theatre-in-residence at the University of Montana. Galveston College Theatre has recently forged an affiliation with Lone Star Performing Arts Association, the latter overseeing the school's drama department. In both alliances, Students, community enthusiasts and professionals blend on any given show.
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." Trivia note: Atticus Finch was based on Amasa Lee, Harper Lee's father. In the afterglow of the best-selling novel, the Pulitzer, the Academy Award-winning movie (best adapted screenplay, Horton Foote; best actor, Gregory Peck), and an invitation to dine with President John F. Kennedy at the White House, Amasa Lee sent his daughter a congratulatory telegram that observed, "You'll have to go some to beat this one."
To Kill a Mockingbird plays April 16 - 19 and 23 - 26 at the Strand Theatre in Galveston. For tickets, $12, call (800) 54-SHOWS
By Peter Szatmary