Review Roundup: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Kicks Off First National Tour; What Are the Critics Saying?

The tour kicked off in Buffalo, NY.

By: Apr. 20, 2022
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To Kill a Mockingbird

The First National Tour has officially begun for the history-making production of To Kill a Mockingbird, Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin's new play, directed by Tony winner Bartlett Sher and based on Harper Lee's classic novel.

Starring in the critically acclaimed production are Emmy Award-winning actor Richard Thomas as Atticus Finch, Melanie Moore as Scout Finch, Jacqueline Williams as Calpurnia, Justin Mark as Jem Finch, Yaegel T. Welch as Tom Robinson, Steven Lee Johnson as Dill Harris and Mary Badham (Oscar-nominated for the role of "Scout" in the feature film) as Mrs. Dubose. They are joined by Joey Collins as Bob Ewell, Richard Poe as Judge Taylor, Luke Smith as Horace Gilmer, Arianna Gayle Stucki as Mayella Ewell, David Christopher Wells as Sheriff Heck Tate, Anthony Natale as Link Deas, Liv Rooth as Miss Stephanie, Travis Johns as Mr. Cunningham and ensemble members Morgan Bernhard, Denise Cormier, Christopher R Ellis, Stephen Elrod, Glenn Fleary, Maeve Moynihan, Daniel Neale, Dorcas Sowunmi and Greg Wood.

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Let's see what the critics are saying!

Shea's - Buffalo, NY

Anthony Chase, Buffalo News: Told in the novel through the eyes of Atticus' daughter, 6-year-old Scout, the play uses three child narrators, portrayed by adults: Scout, played by Melanie Moore; her brother Jem, played by Justin Mark; and their friend Dill Harris, played by Steven Lee Johnson. All three bring humor, charm and at times the profound ring of nostalgia to their roles, as they simultaneously perform their childhoods as present moment and as memory.

Boston Opera House - Boston, MA

The Harvard Crimson: The play puts an interesting spin on the source material - the scenes jump around from place to place in a non-linear fashion, often returning to the courthouse. Moreover, it does a wonderful job of reshuffling the most important moments of the novel into a well-paced sequence that highlights the main tensions of respect, innocence, and racial injustice, all the while showcasing the nuances of these issues. The non-linear timeline allows for contrasting scenes to be pitted right up against each other, enabling the audience to see many sides of the complicated narrative.

Jed Gottlieb, Boston Herald: In the touring production, Atticus is played perfectly by veteran actor Richard Thomas. He's a gentleman full of scholarly acumen that's often utterly worthless in the real world. His optimism empty of impact, his naivete epic in scope. Many of this play's best moments have Atticus being pulled back to reality by his Black housekeeper, Calpernia (Jacqueline Williams, in another perfect performance), someone forced to face reality without rest.

Benedum Center for the Performing Arts - Pittsburgh, PA

David Rullo, Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle: As good as Thomas, Williams and Welch are - and they are very good - the star of the play is Melanie Moore's Scout. The actress draws comedy, outrage, drama, familial loyalty, love and skepticism from Sorkin's words. One almost doesn't notice that Scout, Jem and Dill are all played by adult actors. In fact, their age is forgotten next to 70-year-old Thomas, best known for portraying John-Boy on television's "The Waltons" beginning in 1972.

Playhouse Square - Cleveland, OH

Roy Berko, BroadwayWorld: Melanie Moore is totally believable as Scout, texturing the character with the right levels of empathy and curiosity. Justin Mark, as Scout's brother Jem, and Steven Lee Johnson as Dill, the visiting neighbor, also bring the right level of youthful curiosity and believability to their roles.

Zachary Lewis, True to the original but enriched with new relevance, Aaron Sorkin's theatrical adaptation of the great American novel is everything one could hope for and more. It calls out racism, ignorance, intolerance, and injustice in both their 60-year-old and contemporary forms, both as Lee's first readers knew them and in the ways they're still present today.

Kerry Clawson, Akron Beacon Journal: In this beautiful production, which both does justice to the novel and also fleshes out some key characters more, the storytelling is compelling and nimbly paced. At the same time, it also allows the characters and the audience to breathe in both the weighty and beautiful moments.

Christine Howey, Scene: These are some of the traps the play falls into due to its episodic, non-linear progression. While Sorkin has wisely given the two Black characters, Tom and Finch's housekeeper Calpurnia, more words to say, they still seem minimized in a story that still frames the white man-even with his flaws-as the paragon of virtue. As Tom, Yaegel T. Welch simmers with righteous intent, and Jacqueline Williams lands each of Calpurnia's well-justified snarky comments with perfect timing, even though they seem a bit pat at times (ie. cue the sassy Black gal).

Nederlander Theatre - Chicago, IL

Nancy S. Bishop, Third Coast Review: The play tells a powerful story, but the staging illustrated for me once again the unfortunate nature of the century-old proscenium-style theater. There's a distance between audience and cast that can't be bridged, even by a great script. I would love to see Mockingbird performed in a theater in the round, on a thrust stage or in a storefront theater. That's when theater really comes to life.

Aronoff Center - Cincinnati, OH

Behind the Curtain Cincinnati: I cannot say enough good things about this production. Aaron Sorkin's excellent adaption breathes new life and energy into this American classic. The amazing cast is led by pitch perfect Richard Thomas as Atticus Finch (sorry you will always be John Boy to me) and features Mary Badham (Scout from the motion picture that starred Gregory Peck). In this version, Jem and Dill serve as co-narrators to Scout. Coming in at three hours with intermission, the show never lost momentum and kept me engaged from start to finish. I have never seen an Aronoff audience react so strongly and positively to a play. If you are on the fence about seeing this one, I highly encourage you to go.

Proctor's Theatre - Schenectady, NY

Steve Barnes, Times Union: Sorkin's signature way with rapid dialogue, his jab-flurries of comedy offset by uppercuts of deep seriousness, dramatizes Lee's familiar story in bold and satisfying fashion despite the liberties Sorkin took with the novel's structure, narrative focus and other elements. The production is long, running a full two hours and 45 minutes with intermission, but the expansiveness is warranted, the rewards abundant.

Bob Goepfert, WAMC: Richard Thomas is no less than perfect in finding the dignity that resides in Atticus Finch. He starts as reluctant defender for Tom Robinson (a wonderful Yaegel T. Welch) a black man accused of raping a white woman. He knows the bigotry that exists in the town but Atticus believes because Robinson is so obviously innocent, he will be acquitted.

J. Peter Bergman, The Edge: It had remarkable actors, genius actors actually, who gave resonance to every gesture, every word. Wonderful Melanie Moore who played Scout Finch couldn't have been better and she certainly isn't nine years old based on her program bio and photograph. It had Justin Mark as her brother, Jem, and Steven Lee Johnson as their summer friend, Dill. The wonderful coterie of actors in this cast of thirty professionals makes this one of the largest plays to come to the region in years.

Kennedy Center - Washington, DC

David Friscic, BroadwayWorld: Though this successful Broadway play still carries the literary merits of the beloved book, a bit of the southern gothic feel has been peeled away. There is still a stress on the growing pains of two children growing up in the town of Maycomb, Alabama in 1934 but there is an emphasis on social justice and tolerance that seems expanded from the source material. The characters have a moral complexity that allows each of the characters the opportunity for more of a realistic portrayal of the human condition in all its complexity.

Peter Marks, The Washington Post: The passions of Thomas's Atticus are far closer to the surface than were Daniels's or Ed Harris's, his successor on Broadway. The choking up that occurs in Atticus as he makes his case for Tom's innocence is new to the character. Having Atticus wear his heart on his sleeve is okay, but one trusts that an actor of Thomas's estimable caliber won't let it devolve into an indulgence.

Academy Of Music - Philadelphia, PA

Tony Oriente, BroadwayWorld: Emmy Award winner Richard Thomas (The Waltons) gives a powerful and searching performance as Atticus Finch, the small-town Southern lawyer who epitomizes the ideal human qualities of goodness, tolerance, and decency while bravely standing up to racism in small-town Alabama in the mid-1930s.

Kathia Woods, The Philadelphia Tribune: As Atticus, Richard Thomas is outstanding. He's always been gifted, and this performance demonstrates why he's still a force to be reckoned with. He's particularly moving in his scenes with Justin Mark, who plays Jem.

Belk Theater - Charlotte, NC

Perry Tannenbaum, BroadwayWorld: In light of what I truly experienced at Belk Theater on opening night of Aaron Sorkin's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, watching Atticus Finch valiantly defend Tom Robinson for at least the eighth time onstage, it's simply inadequate for me to say that Richard Thomas was stunning as the iconic Alabama defense attorney. Staggering is more like it, easily the most powerful work I've seen from Thomas in my 59+ years of watching his most memorable performances live on Broadway, in Charlotte, and on TV.

Durham Performing Arts Center - Durham, NC

Nicole Ackman, BroadwayWorld: Sorkin chose to structure the play through its young protagonists, Scout, Jem, and Dill, telling the story to the audience. They go between the trial and the events that led up to it, which works well for this format. Melanie Moore and Justin Mark are an effective pair as the Finch siblings, bringing a youthful exuberance and naivete to their roles. Steven Lee Johnson is excellent as Dill, nailing all of the comedic moments and bringing levity to an otherwise serious story. Ann Roth's costumes firmly situate the story in its 1930s setting, while Miriam Buether's impressive sets bring the many settings within Alabama to life.

Tennessee Performing Arts Center - Nashville, TN

Jeffrey Ellis, BroadwayWorld: Now onstage at Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts Center's Andrew Jackson Hall through Sunday, August 14, with a top-flight cast led by Emmy Award-winning, Tony Award-nominated actor Richard Thomas, To Kill A Mockingbird may well prove to be Sorkin's legacy, his most acclaimed creation: He has crafted a play that differs from its source material in many ways, but he adroitly makes it resonate for contemporary audiences by writing a play that confronts the twin specters of white supremacy and Christian nationalism in this country, while trying to mitigate the impact of Lee's tendency toward themes of a white savior (Atticus Finch) demonstrating legal heroics for the good, if put-upon and struggling to survive black folk of 1934 Maycomb, Alabama.

Orpheum Theatre - Memphis, TN

AniKatrina Fageol, BroadwayWorld: Richard Thomas definitely steals the show as Atticus, showing a powerful yet gentle man and father. However, unlike the book, we are shown a different side of Atticus including watching him snap and attack Bob Ewell after the trial. Though we as an audience can understand his actions, it is interesting to see these changes up close.

George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Theatre - Salt Lake City, UT

Tyler Hinton, BroadwayWorld: It's a miraculous adaptation of any well-known work that can cause a familiar audience to sit on the edge of their seats in suspense and anticipation of what will happen next. This one succeeds in doing so not just because of its non-traditional structure, but because Sorkin has an uncanny ability to enrich the inner lives of the characters and uncover new facets to events we thought we knew. Treating the novel as if it is true history rather than a storyline that must be followed beat by beat, he dramatizes many moments that have always been in the shadows, bringing to light new perspectives we hadn't previously thought about.

Golden Gate Theatre - San Francisco, CA

Lily Janiak, Datebook: Welch's Tom isn't just quiet, doomed dignity, the best possible defendant who's still not good enough. He's got an edge. He's funny and smart as hell. He won't let Atticus' high-flown words obscure the cold truths of his situation, implicitly giving us permission to question Atticus, too. When he's on the stand recounting what happened between him and Mayella, although he's frozen in place, he makes his tale so fraught with peril that the courtroom becomes an angry white mob that might pounce on him the instant he breathes the wrong way.

Paramount Theatre - Seattle, WA

Jay Irwin, BroadwayWorld: If you're at all familiar with the works of Aaron Sorkin (TV Shows like "The West Wing" or "The Newsroom" or plays like "A Few Good Men", or how about his Academy Award winning Screenplay for "The Social Network") you know that the man can handle dialog and make it engaging and vibrant and he's no stranger to hard hitting issues. And his work with this adaptation is sublime. And when combined with the brilliant staging and direction from Sher, as well as an incredibly fast-moving modular set from Miriam Buether, what we have is a tour de force of a hard hitting and, sadly, still relevant story.

Jerald Pierce, Seattle Times: I truly hate yucking peoples' yum, and I honestly believe that many will love this play. It's an excellent introduction to the story for the unfamiliar or those who have forgotten over the years. Still, I can't help feeling like we should be past many of the lessons being taught by this show. We hear all the time about the atrocities of the justice system, from addressing the inequity of our current system to revisiting how it failed in the past. I couldn't help but think of Emmett Till, whose family is still seeking justice after their discovery of an unserved arrest warrant for Carolyn Bryant Donham - the woman whose accusations led to Till's death - resulted in neither an indictment nor a confession.

Keller Auditorium - Portland, OR

Max Tapogna, Portland Mercury: But not all groups of people are dumb. The crowd gathered at the Keller Tuesday night made a smart move when they bought tickets to see this Broadway show. A rare piece of theater, To Kill a Mockingbird entertains and dazzles, even as it examines the problems in US society that are most deeply rooted.

Pantages Theatre - Los Angeles, CA

John Nguyen, Nerd Reactor: The play does a wonderful job of balancing the serious and humourous scenes. One moment the audience is laughing with the Finch family, and the next moment they're scared for Robinson. Thanks to the cast and Sorkin's dialogue, it was effective and the mood transitioned at appropriate times.

Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times: The Broadway touring production, retaining the elegant fluidity of Bartlett Sher's staging, arrives at the Hollywood Pantages at a different cultural moment than when this version of "To Kill a Mockingbird" first opened in New York in 2018. A pandemic, the toxic fallout of Donald Trump's presidency and a reckoning on race that was ignited by the murder of George Floyd have heightened awareness of the disparities and injustices built into the American story.

Civic Theatre - San Diego, CA

E.H. Reiter, BroadwayWorld: Richard Thomas as Atticus is educated, genial, and believes in the power of the truth and the American judicial system. He believes that the people of Maycomb as essentially good and in a court of law those same people will act on facts and truth instead of prejudice. As should be expected from an Aaron Sorkin adaption there are plenty of impassioned speeches on right and wrong, and quippy one-liners that Thomas delivers with easy credibility. Equally as powerful is that this Attaicus has flaws and blindspots and is more human than the oft-remembered paragon lawyer from the movie.

Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune: Playwright Aaron Sorkin took Lee's poetic coming-of-age story about Atticus' two children, Jem and Scout, and turned it upside down into a searing and powerful drama about racism, White privilege and Atticus' downfall from meek and forgiving idealist into disillusioned and flawed realist and activist. In this version of the story, the novel's two Black characters, Tom and the Finch family's housekeeper Calpurnia, have a much-bigger presence and a more contemporary voice.

ASU Gammage - Tempe, AZ

Timothy Shawver, BroadwayWorld: The star of the show is Richard Thomas as Atticus. Last seen at Gammage (to equal success) in THE HUMANS, Thomas is a rock-solid champion of American realism. Keeping Sorkin's wordy (I'd say verbose if it wasn't so good) dialogue believable as an extemporaneous conversation is an acting challenge and Mr. Thomas delivers. Director Bartlett Sher's staging is appropriately cinematic, an aesthetic evoked primarily by the guitar and pipe organ score by Adam Guettel, as well as the light design by Jennifer Tipton.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts - Costa Mesa, CA

Christopher Smith, The Orange County Register: Finch is a character in search of the good in anyone - especially so when it isn't there to be found - and Thomas seems a natural fit for this practiced passivity, but then, either while suddenly attack-dogging a crucial, lying witness or, physically, taking matters into his own hands when past his own breaking point, Thomas expertly channels the character's hidden complexities.

Centennial Hall at the University of Arizona - Tucson, AZ

Cathalena E. Burch, Thomas delivers a powerful performance in the courtroom, where he challenges the veracity of the accuser's story, and on the front porch, where he doles out fatherly advice to his children who call him by his first name. Thomas's witty asides providing snippets of humor to break up the play's darkness gave way to shatteringly emotional statements on the injustices of racism.

Denver Center for the Performing Arts - Denver, CO

Chris Arneson, BroadwayWorld: The cast is spectacular. Atticus is played by Richard Thomas, who I will always recognize from Stephen King's original IT film. He's well settled into the role, bringing Atticus's calm collectiveness to the forefront. The children -- Scout (Melanie Moore), Jem (Justin Mark), and Dill (Steven Lee Johnson) are played by actors closer to my current age, and they do a great job at not overplaying their youthful moments. Other standout performances include Yaegal T. Welch as Tom Robinson, Arianna Gayle Stucki as Mayella Ewell, Jacqueline Williams as Calpurnia and Joey Collins as Bob Ewell.

John Wenzel, The Denver Post: The story is faithful in broad strokes to the book and 1962 film, but Scout Finch (Melanie Moore) is no longer the only young narrator. Brother Jem Finch (Justin Mark) and neighbor Dill Harris (Steven Lee Johnson) take turns driving and explaining the story as the trio prowls the stage. It's an odd and not entirely bad choice to see them literally weaving through scenes like ghosts, commenting at times but mostly floating around and watching. It makes Scout's original narration literal, but also needlessly omniscient.

Orpheum Theater - Omaha, NE

Betsie Freeman, I can't say enough about Thomas. As Atticus, his fiery courtroom speech as his defense goes up in flames was as good as anything I've seen in a while. My husband said he thinks everything Thomas has done in the last 50 years was leading him to this stage role, ever since he performed a similar speech against book burning as John Boy Walton in "The Waltons."

Orpheum Theatre - Minneapolis, MN

Jared Fessler, BroadwayWorld: The sets and the transition were exquisite and the costumes were timeless. Richard Thomas (Atticus Finch), was captivating and was well received when he stepped foot out onstage. Melanie Moore (Scout Finch), Justin Mark (Jem Finch), and Steven Lee Johnson (Dill Harris), all portrayed the young children well. Yaegel T, Welch (Tom Robinson) Dorcas Sowunmi (Calpurnia), were wonderful. The whole cast overall was exceptional and committed to these in depth characters.

Brian Bix, Twin Cities Arts Reader: The cast is brilliant. Among the standouts, Thomas gives shading and complexity to Finch, having him grow morally over the course of the play, and not just be a righteous role model. Melanie Moore carries the burden of the play as Scout, as she must be observer, narrator, and moral chorus. Dorcas Sowummi plays Calpurnia, the long-time cook for the Finch family and mother-figure to Atticus's children. If Atticus is the town's conscience, she is his.

Fox Cities Performing Arts Center - Appleton, WI

Kelli Arseneau, Post Crescent: Fans of the novel and movie will notice some differences in the stage adaptation of "To Kill a Mockingbird." One of the most notable changes is the play's depiction of Atticus Finch. The lawyer is not the same soft-spoken, level-headed figure of virtue as famously portrayed by Gregory Peck in the 1964 film. Thomas' portrayal of Atticus is much more emotional and excitable. He angrily raises his voice during the trial, fearfully yells when Scout, Jem and Dill show up outside the county jail while a mob of townspeople threaten to lynch Tom Robinson, and gets into a physical altercation when his family is threatened.

Fox Theatre - St. Louis, MO

Mark Bretz, LaDue News: Playwright Aaron Sorkin ("A Few Good Men," "The Social Network," "Moneyball") takes plenty of liberties with Harper Lee's novel in an effort to update its story, while trying to stick with the essential plot of Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning tale about a young girl's view of the segregated South during the Depression.

Tina Farmer, Riverfront Times: Director Bartlett Sher guides a spectacular cast that convincingly commits to the story. Richard Thomas is captivating as Finch, with an easy, knowledgeable but down-to-earth approach that adds to the character's inherent appeal. He staunchly believes that justice will ultimately prevail. Filled with natural empathy, he encourages his children to try to understand why people are behaving a certain way. Thomas captures all these aspects with an understated, natural gravitas.

Hippodrome Theatre - Baltimore, MD

Daniel Collins, BroadwayWorld: Richard Thomas - forever "John-Boy" Walton for many - headlines as Atticus. Unlike Peck whose Finch seemed gravitas itself made human, Thomas' Atticus is less mythical. While Peck commanded, Thomas' Atticus is more relatable as the single somewhat harried father trying to raise his children, understand why Calpurnia is being "passive aggressive", help out his neighbors, while nurturing a world view that, while idealistically advanced, is dangerously naïve, as he, and those around him, come to learn.

Lynne Menefee, MD Theatre Guide: Masterfully directed by Bartlett Sher, this "Mockingbird" is a breathtaking and totally captivating production on every level, with a fantastic cast supported by the exemplary work of the creative team. The play has taken the book apart and structurally reassembled the events to great effect. The characters of Tom (welcome back, Resident Everyman Company member, Yaegel T. Welch) and Calpurnia (the incredible Jacqueline Williams), the Finches' housekeeper for generations, have more prominence. They speak to the unfortunate parallels in today's world, with its continuing racial and religious injustices, that make it feel as if we are falling backwards. The play packs a powerful, emotional punch even though we already know the terrible, practically inevitable outcome. But there is also humor, tenderness, and joy.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando, FL

Aaron Wallace, BroadwayWorld: Richard Thomas's Atticus is mild and affable, inspiring not only for Finch's trademark integrity but also because of the even-tempered warmth he brings to the role. His many interactions with the just Judge Taylor (David Manis) ring especially true. A lawyer myself, having practiced in the American South, I recognized in their performances the verisimilitude of that world. "I know these gentlemen," I thought. In less capable hands, both characters could easily skew toward caricature.

Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel: Between the sharp writing and acting, none of this is preachy in the least - it just feels like honest truths - and Sorkin has captured the warmth and humor for which Lee's novel is known.

Broward Center For The Performing Arts - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Rod Stafford Hagwood, South Florida Sun Sentinel: The cast delivers in a way that's hard to wrap your brain around. This tour has been on the road since March 27, 2022, delivering up to eight shows a week in city after city after city. But you'd never know it because there isn't a hint of weariness, not an iota of complacency. No one is phoning it in. No one. Not even the ensemble players relegated to the courtroom spectator gallery. Clearly, this is a mission for the actors.

Straz Center - Tampa, FL

Drew Eberhard, BroadwayWorld: For me this is where Sorkin's adaptation works its best magic, in moments where the audience very much becomes a "fly on the wall," to the events of the story. It takes the most pressing moments of the story, the most exciting moments and thrust the audience head-first into its center. It is a welcomed change with the story in narration by the children Scout and Jem, respectively, and through its inner-workings, we see the evolution of the great man living within Atticus himself. Sorkin's adaptation bookends seamlessly, by opening with a mention of Bob Ewell "falling on his knife," and closing with the same recognizance.

Hobby Center for the Performing Arts - Houston, TX

Chris Vognar, Houston Chronicle

D.L. Groover, Houston Press: Thomas is remarkable as no-longer-saintly Atticus Finch, yet in turns decent, somewhat noble, inherently good. His cross-examination of ignorant Mayella Ewell (Arianna Gayle Stucki) who has falsely accused Tom but has in fact been brutally attacked by her father (Joey Collins), one of theater's vilest characters, is wondrously paced. Thomas's increasing outrage is thrillingly theatrical as he accosts us directly as if we're the jury. But overall, Sorkin constantly trips him up, making him less not more.

Bass Concert Hall - Austin, TX

Joni Lorraine, BroadwayWorld: To Kill a Mockingbird is still a story told by white people about the struggle of black people, but in Sorkin's version, black people are given a voice. Chiefly, we hear from the accused, Tom Robinson (Yaegel T. Welch) and Finch's maid, Calpurnia (Jacqueline Williams). Tom's trial takes center stage right away both figuratively and literally. Sorkin gives voice to Tom and Calpurnia, but they are not the only voices prone to struggle in this thick and rich version. Jem (Justin Mark) struggles with his father's passivity. He's the frustrated voice of those of us who seek justice with our hands and feet, and sometimes, our fists. Scout (a committed and intense Melanie Moore) struggles to solve the mystery of Bob's (Joey Collins) death, and her father's complicity in it. Dill (Morgan Bernhard) struggles with his own family secrets.

Bob Abelman, The Austin Chronicle: Sorkin's adaptation pushes further on hot-topic issues than Lee was able to while writing in the 1960s. He pushed so hard that he was sued by Lee's estate for taking too many editorial liberties, which he absolutely does and with great effect. He beefs up the small roles given to black characters (a powerful and poignant Yaegel T. Welch and Jacqueline Williams, as Robinson and Atticus's household maid Calpurnia, respectively) and better represents their perspective. And he casts a weary eye over the book's idealistic portrayal of Atticus (Richard Thomas, who is astounding in the role). Lee presented as virtues the character's belief in the nobility of all human beings - "there's good in everyone," he says - and his ability to empathize with even the most vile racists and hardened hearts in town. Sorkin boldly presents them as flaws.

Music Hall at Fair Park - Dallas, TX

Lauryn Angel, Red Carpet CrashTo Kill a Mockingbird may be the best theatrical production I’ve seen in quite some time, but I still came away a little dissatisfied. The storyline of Boo Radley gets sidelined here, with the character seemingly only included because of his part in the story’s resolution. Of course, the show is already almost three hours long, so I’m not sure where the scenes needed to develop this character would fit.

David Taffet, Dallas Voice: To call this the best non-musical play to come to Dallas in years doesn’t do the show justice. Richard Thomas as Atticus Finch is at the height of his career and Melanie Moore as Scout grabs the audience from her first line. I’d also like to rave about Daniel Neale who substituted as Dill Harris, giving the role just the right amount of gay for the 1930s but never overdoing it. He was fabulous.

Ohio Theatre - Columbus, OH

Paul Batterson, BroadwayWorld: Though it is set in the 1930s, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD remains as topical now as it did when it was first published. Unfortunately, racists are rarely as overt as Bob Ewell. They often wear the tainted smiles and three piece suits like Horace Gilmer.

Richard Sanford, Columbus Underground: I didn’t love the shift in the protagonist from Scout to Atticus, but I thought several of the changes Sorkin made – in opening up the lens to make this more of a spray than the laser focus of Lee’s novel – worked really well. For example, the enhanced role of Calpurnia (Jacqueline Williams), making her a full foil to Atticus, and softening her early relationship to Scout, moved me, with a nuanced thunderbolt of performance from Williams and excellent chemistry with both Thomas and Moore.

Auditorium Theatre - Rochester, NY

Colin Fleming-Stumpf, BroadwayWorld: I harbored some suspicions entering the Auditorium Theatre to see this show, mostly centered on how well the story would translate to the stage. The “Mockingbird” novel, while historic and hugely important, is not always a page-turner, with stretches of exposition and backstory that I feared might translate to a somewhat sleepy stage adaptation. Boy were those fears misplaced. Sorkin crafts a script that is snappy, moves fast, and is filled with laughs and pithy dialogue, while still capturing all “Mockingbird’s” themes around race and empathy. It’s a show that will make you cry and think deeply, sure, but the brisk scene changes and narrative rapidity will keep you on the edge of your seat and clinging to every word; it’s an impressive balancing act, and is likely not feasible for anyone but Sorkin.

The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts - Louisville, KY

Taylor Clemons, BroadwayWorld: In this version of the story, adults play the three child characters, and they truly are the heart of the show. Melanie Moore plays Scout Finch, and does a wonderful job of capturing childlike wonder and curiosity without it ever feeling disingenuous. Moore does a lot of the show’s narration and heavy lifting, and the role showcases her talents very well. Justin Mark plays Jem, Scout’s older brother. Mark does well with the least showy role of the three children. He brings a lot of heart to the character, while still a child himself, and has to care for and look after his sister. Lastly, Dill is played by Steven Lee Johnson to great effect. Johnson’s Dill steals the show. I believe it’s due to a wonderful combination of actor and material. Johnson truly and totally shines. 

Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts - Hartford, CT

Nancy Sasso Janis, Patch: Veteran actor Richard Thomas, who has hardly aged since he appeared in the iconic series “The Waltons” on television, appears above the title on this one and it is well-deserved. His portrayal of Atticus Finch (based on Lee’s own father) is measured and artful. Thomas has many Broadway/Off-Broadway credits, including “The Little Foxes,” “Race,” and innumerable Shakespeare productions.

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center - Charlotte, NC

Adam Bell, Charlotte Observer:  Veteran theater, movie and TV writer Aaron Sorkin adapted the book for the stage. He readjusted that perspective to eye level, looking at Atticus straight on to allow a modern audience a different take of him. One where we can see his innate decency, as embodied by acting pro Richard Thomas, affectionately remembered by many as the Walton’s John-Boy.

Bass Performance Hall - Fort Worth, TX

Sam Lisman, BroadwayWorld: Where Sorkin is subtle is his insinuation that perhaps this tale isn’t about the 1930s in which it takes place, nor the late 1950s when Harper Lee wrote it, but that it’s also about today.  While it’s true that we haven’t yet become the society that Atticus and Calpurnia advocate, I think it’s a mistake to discount the progress we’ve made in that journey.  Despite whatever the distance we still have to go, we’ve already travelled a much farther distance to get where we are.  And I don’t think it’s a stretch to claim that To Kill a Mockingbird has done a great deal to inspire those much-needed improvements.

Rick Mauch, Fort Worth Star Telegram:  The supporting cast is nothing less than solid throughout. As Tom’s accuser Mayella Ewell, Mariah Lee solicits both pity and disgust. She, Koch and Thomas create several tense courtroom moments so necessary to the story without ever going over the top.

Wharton Center - East Lansing, MI

Stefani Chudnow, BroadwayWorld: This play is much more than your middle school’s English reading assignment. For the duration of the play, audiences are enveloped in this world we’ve learned so much but may not have gotten the chance to see with our own eyes. In turn, getting the opportunity to explore this world comes with the harsh realities of that time in history. This play does not hesitate to make extensive usage of the racist language of the time, feature the Klan in a key plot point, and tell the gruesome details of the supposed crime that took place. While these perhaps make the story hard to digest, it’s exactly this what also makes the story feel authentic. It is a visceral 3 hours that will surely leave you thinking about what you saw for a long time. 

Berl Schwartz, City Pulse: The play does some justice to the coming-of-age story of Scout (Maeve Moynihan), her brother, Jem (Justin Mark), and their summer playmate Dill (Steven Lee Johnson). It’s disconcerting to see these college graduates as children, though, especially in their scenes with Thomas, who is barely taller than two of them and shorter than one. Scout’s appearance is reminiscent of how the busting-out physical maturity of Judy Garland had to be literally constrained in “The Wizard of Oz.” Still, all turn in convincing performances, with Johnson particularly delightful as the character that Lee based on her childhood friend who grew up to be the writer Truman Capote.

Civic Center Music Hall - Oklahoma City, OK

Brett Fieldcamp, Oklahoma City Free Press: Ultimately, once you’re accustomed to the new, unbound structure and the children’s “unreliable narrator” framing (and once you accept that Sorkin’s snappy, quick-witted, self-aware dialogue may be a tad mismatched to the Alabama drawl,) you’ll be treated to a “Mockingbird” as powerful and devastating as ever.

KC Music Hall - Kansas City, MO

Alan Portner, BroadwayWorld: Sorkin’s real genius is his ability with dialog.  The story is exactly the story that Harper Lee told in the source book.  It is pretty dark, but in Aaron Sorkin’s hands there is a surprising amount of humor to be had.  We like many of these people.   Some we hate, but most are worth knowing.

Uihlein Hall at Marcus Center For The Performing Arts - Milwaukee, WI

Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Thomas brings star power to dramatic courtroom scenes, but never bigfoots his younger colleagues in their scenes together. Both Calpurnia and Robinson call Atticus to task when he patronizes them or fails to grasp their situations as Black people. Welch, who invests Robinson with dignity and power, actually has to tell his lawyer to stop and listen. To this Atticus' credit, he apologizes when called on his wrongs.

Ed Mirvish Theatre - Toronto, CA

Samantha Wu, BroadwayWorld: Now on stage until the weekend and then returning for a limited time in 2024, Mirvish Productions presents Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin's stage adaptation of Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece of American literature to Toronto audiences. Considering the current political and also racially driven landscape, seeing To Kill a Mockingbird now is as relevant and timely as ever.

Liam Donovan, NextMag: The performances, for instance, are polished and believable but a little mechanical. Mockingbird’s rhythm is too breezy and calculated for much spontaneity, especially in more casual scenes. That said, Welch provides a powerful burst of energy when Robinson goes up to testify — and Thomas brings plenty of life to Atticus’s closing statement, largely succeeding at keeping the monologue from being swallowed up by its iconic status.

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Interview: Maeve Moynihan Talks TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD National Tour Photo
Interview: Maeve Moynihan Talks TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD National Tour

In BroadwayWorld's exclusive interview, Maeve Moynihan discusses her journey and excitement of starring in the national tour of To Kill a Mockingbird. Read on to learn more about her experience and role as Scout.

Video: Richard Thomas Is Bringing TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD to a City Near You Photo
Video: Richard Thomas Is Bringing TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD to a City Near You

In this video, watch as we catch up with star of the To Kill a Mockingbird National Tour, Richard Thomas! He chats about the importance of this story, why it still resonates with audiences, and so much more!

Richard Thomas to Continue in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Tour Photo
Richard Thomas to Continue in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Tour

The third touring season has been revealed for the First National Tour of To Kill a Mockingbird. See who is starring and learn how to purchase tickets!

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD to End West End Run This May Photo
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD to End West End Run This May

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird – a new play by multi-award-winning Aaron Sorkin, directed by Tony Award-winning Bartlett Sher, will close on the West End.

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