Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre is proud to announce the cast of To Kill a Mockingbird. The stage version of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize Winning novel by Christopher Sergel was presented in the 3rd County Courthouse in Historic Richmondtown opening Thursday, April 8th and running Thursday Friday Saturday and Sunday through April 18th, 2010.
Here is Jodi Lee Reifer's REVIEW in the Staten Island Advance:
To Kill a Mockingbird” A play based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel When: April 15-16; 3 & 8 p.m. April 17; April 18 How much: Tickets are $22.50-$25 More information: www.ShowTix4U.com or www.SISTNY.org
STATEN ISLAND, NY -- The Depression Era Deep South could easily feel like a long way from Staten Island, 2010.
But not in the supremely capable hands of the Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre.
The troupe’s staging of “To Kill a Mockingbird” elicits genuinely heartbreaking moments by leading you to ask: Could the same kind of injustice and loss of innocence happen here and now?
Christopher Sergel’s play, based on Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, closely follows the original story: Atticus Finch, a principled lawyer, is court appointed to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman in the 1930s. His young daughter and son, Scout and Jem, are enjoying an idyllic childhood until they learn bigotry permeates their town when they become the victims of gossip and abuse.
The Shakespearean puts on a top-notch production and there are many reasons. Yes, the troupe is staging the show in HistoricRichmondTown’s Third County Courthouse, an authentic courtroom built in 1837, offering unbeatable ambiance. Aside from that, the space provides good natural acoustics; it was erected before microphones.
But the real gifts of this production come from the performances and the direction. The cast, led by the Shakespearean artistic director, Wayne Miller, is comprised of community theater veterans who have taken local stages for three decades.
Joseph Daly, last seen in the Shakespearean’s “Inherit the Wind,” is dead-on as Atticus Finch, creating a compelling and believable father.
Julie Corbin, who has played Adelaide in “Guys & Dolls” as well as Lee in “Marvin’s Room,” among many other roles, delivers an exceptional performance as Maude Atkinson. In the play, she’s a nurturing neighbor to the Finch children as well as the narrator. By contrast, the book gives that job to Scout, a 6-year-old in the novel.
The Shakespearean wisely casts 13-year-old Sabrina Bogen to play Scout at age 11. Acting since she was less than half her own age, the young actress holds her own with the stage vets, skillfully pulling off the child’s precocious nature without seeming cloying. Another child actor, 11-year-old Patrick Maruffi, is a scene-stealer as Dill with some of the play’s best lines.
However, Kevin Pearl as Jem is slightly problematic. We have no complaints about his actual performance. But to look at him is disconcerting. In the book, the character is almost 10 years old. The production makes him 15, but Pearl is obviously a grown man.
Other stand-out performances come from Sonya Mason as Calpurnia, Joan Kell as Mrs. Dubose and Dorri Aspinwall as Stephanie Crawford. Dorian McGhee is particularly effective as Tom Robinson, the man accused of rape. The actor captures the dialect of a rural Southern farmhand.
Miller doesn’t force the entire cast to go for regional accents, which is a smart move. None of the actors sound untrue to the parts. Professional stage lighting brought into the courthouse for the show and incidental sound effects — mockingbird chirping among other noises — elevate the production’s sum even higher.
Joseph Daly: Atticus Finch
Sabrina Bogen: Jean Louise (Scout) Finch
Kevin Pearl: Jeremy (Jem) Finch
Patrick Maruffi: Dill
Sonya Mason: Calpurnia
Dorian McGhee: Tom Robinson
Henry Bruh: Bob Ewell
Megan Jardine: Mayella Ewell
Julie Corbin: Miss Maudie
Dorri Aspinwall: Miss Stephanie
Joan Kell: Mrs. Dubose
Paul Johnson: Rev. Sykes
Ken Conroy: Mr. Gilmer
Bill McVey: Judge Taylor
Michael Milione: Sheriff Heck Tate
Michael Somogyi: Arthur (Boo) Radley
Charlie Milo: Mr Cunningham
Richard Wickstrom: Bailiff
Greg McGovern: Townsman
Chris Benbow: Townsman
Loretta Mowat: Townswoman, Swing
The production is diected by Wayne Miller.
Assistant Director is Donna D'Ermilio
Production Stage Manager is Elizabeth Watt
The production is produced by Jean Mahlmann
This is an Actors Equity Showcase production (pending approval).