Broadway To Kill a Mockingbird stars Jeff Daniels, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Gbenga Akinnagbe, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Gideon Glick, Will Pullen, Neal Huff, and Dakin Matthews visited student Thespians from Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia to perform scenes from the current Broadway smash, adapted from Harper Lee's beloved 1960 novel, April 2. Playwright Aaron Sorkin and director Bartlett Sher were also on hand for the special event. Held at the Library of Congress, the performance was introduced by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Check out photos from the event below.
Sorkin and Educational Theatre Foundation President Julie Cohen Theobald also announced the winner of the Thespian DemocracyWorks essay contest: Brannon Evans of Troupe 5483 in Omaha, Nebraska. The award, made possible by a grant to the Educational Theatre Foundation, includes a $10,000 college scholarship. Evans won for her essay sharing her firsthand experience performing in a high school production of Mockingbird and her struggles with race and self-identity. "I found almost everyone cast had felt out of place at some point, and we're all more alike than we had thought," wrote Evans. "Theatre is what brought us together, and that feeling is something everyone should have the opportunity to experience."
"This special event, held in our nation's repository of history, demonstrates that telling an important story through theatre can be transformative for everyone who participates, whether they are backstage, on stage, or in the audience," said Theobald.
The special performance was given in support of Theatre in Our Schools Month, held annually in March to shine a spotlight on the impact of arts education. Students and educators are encouraged to go to their communities, school boards, and elected officials to share personal stories about theatre education and its importance. All students in attendance were members of the Educational Theatre Association's International Thespian Society, an honor society for middle and high school theatre students nationwide.