Steppenwolf Theatre company celebrates the 50th anniversary of Harper Lee's landmark novel To Kill a Mockingbird, featuring Lookingglass Theatre ensemble member Philip R. Smith as the wise and patient Atticus Finch, Bubba Weiler as the coming-of-age Jem Finch, Larry Neumann Jr. as the villainous Bob Ewell, Claire Wellin as the distraught Mayella Ewell, and 5th grader Caroline Heffernan as the bold, tomboyish Scout Finch, who plays her character with such fearlessness that it's hard to believe that this is her first time on the Steppenwolf stage.
The entire cast puts on a superb show, with Carolyn Defrin as a grown up Scout who narrates the story. The only thing I can fault this play for is the fact that it's not the novel. So many details are left out, but of course this is necessary for theatre or film, unless you want to be sitting in a theatre for twelve hours. Having the older version of Scout fill in the gaps with narration helped move the story along and still keep in many details that could not easily fit into the scenes themselves.
Set in Alabama during the Great Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows the journey of Scout and Jem Finch, whose father Atticus has been appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of assaulting a white woman. As the trial progresses, Jem and Scout witness their community in a tense tug-of-war with racism and justice. This timeless classic compels us to take an honest look at our nation's past, as well as our moral responsibility to each other. Published in 1960, author Harper Lee has received countless literary awards and
recognitions, including the Pultizer Prize for Fiction in 1961. The novel was adapted to the stage by Christopher Sergel, who has also adapted novels such as Up the Down Staircase and Winesburg, Ohio.
Don't miss out on this honest, compelling, and undeniably captivating piece of theatre. To Kill a Mockingbird runs Friday, Saturday, & Sunday at 7:30 PM until November 14th at Steppenwolf's upstairs theatre at 1650 N Halsted. There are also weekday matinees at 3 reserved for school groups.