Syracuse Stage to Present TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

Harper Lee's classic American tale of courage and justice takes the stage as Syracuse Stage presents TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, February 24 - March 26, directed by producing artistic director Timothy Bond.

Through the familiar story of small-town lawyer Atticus Finch, his daughter Scout, and the falsely accused Tom Robinson, the stage adaptation by Christopher Sergel, like its source material, examines the destruction of childhood innocence in a world poisoned by fear, hatred, and racial prejudice.

Lee's iconic story has had an influence on Bond, as an African American man and as an artist. "TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is a book and a story that has always moved me," says Bond, who began considering adding the play to a Syracuse Stage season 18 months ago. Bond sees the play as a way of addressing national issues of xenophobia and racial injustice. These prejudices have always been around but have seemingly exploded recently, demonstrating that they have never been an issue that only exists in the South. In casting the production, Bond found that his cast shared his opinion on the importance of mounting the play in these times. "I think the themes that the play and the original story that Harper Lee is touching on are still incredibly relevant," says Bond, "I'd say tragically relevant, today."

Bond conducted extensive auditions for the roles of the three child characters at the center of the story, particularly the character of young Scout. In order for the roles to resonate as truthfully as the adult characters, Bond needed child actors with a strong sense of emotional maturity that would allow them to better comprehend such complicated themes. In casting local child actors Sera Bullis, Matthew Caraccioli, and Anthony Cawley, Bond found the qualities that he was looking for. These actors would need to read the book as well as to learn about the Jim Crow South and gender roles in the 1930s, as a way of understanding the town of Maycomb. "What makes someone mature is experience," says Bond. "So I wanted kids that brought the right experience."

Along with the three children, the show features a cast of veteran stage actors and 12 members of the local community who will fill out the gallery in the courtroom.

Bond is currently in his last season as producing artistic director at Syracuse Stage. The upcoming play The Christians will be his final production. He will be moving to Seattle this summer to become a full professor at the University of Washington.

Nelle Harper Lee, born in 1926, grew up in Monroeville, Alabama. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was her first book. For the book, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1961 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. Her book was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film in 1962. A sequel, Go Set a Watchman, was published in 2015.

Tickets are available at syracusestage.org, and at the Box Office, 443-3275 (Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and two hours before curtain).

Cast is as follows:

Sera Bullis........................................................................................Scout

Matthew Caraccioli...............................................................................Jem

Anthony Crawley..................................................................................Dill

Tanya J. Cumber.........................................................Mrs. Dubose's Attendant

Liam Craig..................................................................................Heck Tate

Perri Gaffney................................................................................Calpurnia

William Hall, Jr. ....................................................................Reverend Sykes

John Keabler...............................................................Mr. Gilmer, Boo Radley

Celia Madeoy...........................................................................Mrs. Dubose

Christopher McHale...................................................Judge Taylor, Cunningham

Mark Murphey.................................................................................Atticus

John Pribyl..................................................................Bob Ewell, Mr. Radley

Rachel Towne.................................................................Mayelle Violet Ewell

Landon G. Woodson..............................................................................Tom

Barbra Wengerd..........................................................................Jean Louise

GALLERY: Cari Andrews, Yolanda C. Brown, Tanya J. Cumber, Matellah Donzo, Kathye A. Goode, Winsome Graham, Khimberle A. Guy, Lanika S. Mabrey, Suheli Christina Ray, Cora Thomas, Tashia A. Thomas, Derrick L. Whitt

The design team includes William Bloodgood (scenic design), Suzanne Chesney (costume design), Dawn Chiang (lighting design), and Michael Keck (composer).

SPECIAL EVENTS - FREE FOR TICKET HOLDERS:

Feb. 26 Opening Night Party

Join the cast for a post-show celebration with live music, food, drinks, and good times. Featuring live music by The Bill Horrace Band.

Feb. 28 Prologue at 1 p.m.

An intimate, 20-minute pre-show discussion with the actors 1 hour before curtain. Bring your questions.

Feb. 28 Actor Talkback

Actor Q&A following this 7 p.m. Sunday performance

Mar. 3 Southern Dessert Soiree Happy Hour

Enjoy delightful southern desserts from Scratch-Made Sweets by Jasmin and spin the wheel with CNY Reads to test your knowledge with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Trivia. Half Price Drinks from the bar including our signature drink, "Tequila Mockingbird".

Mar. 5 Prologue at 2 p.m.

An intimate, 20-minute pre-show discussion with the actors 1 hour before curtain. Bring your questions.

ASL Interpreted for patrons who are deaf.

Mar. 9 Wednesday Lecture at 2 p.m. by Kevin Noble Maillard

Lecture at 2 p.m. in the Sutton Pavilion, before the 3 p.m. matinee performance. Kevin Noble Maillard, professor of Law at Syracuse University, will talk about race and the law (especially in light of recent troubling events involving African American men and the police) as it relates to the courtroom drama within TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

Open Captioning at Performance for patrons who are hard of hearing or deaf

Mar. 12 Audio Described Performance at 3 p.m. for blind or visually impaired patrons

Mar. 13 Open Captioning at 2 p.m. Performance for patrons who are hard of hearing or deaf

Mar. 24 Prologue at 6:30 p.m.

An intimate, 20-minute pre-show discussion with the actors 1 hour before curtain. Bring your questions.

OTHER EVENTS:

Feb. 24 Interfaith Works Racial Justice Awards at 5:30 p.m.

This awards Ceremony will take place at Syracuse Stage before the 7:30 p.m. preview performance of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Director Timothy Bond will receive the "Catalyst Award" for his role in connecting our community with important issues through the power of live theatre. Each season he has included at least one play addressing race or ethnicity as a way to educate the Central New York community about stereotypes and assumptions. As thousands have attended these plays over the years, Bond has made a significant contribution to informing the community about social inequity and racial justice as well as inspiring further conversation and action. Suggested ticket donation is $30-$150. Tickets & Information about the event can be found at www.interfaithworkscny.org/event/racialjusticeawards.

Through Mockingbird Community Dialogue

Mar. 30 A complete list of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD events happening around the community in cooperation with CNY Reads can be found at www.syracusestage.org/mockingbirddialogue.php

LOBBY EXHIBIT:

Syracuse Stage and the Onondaga Historical Association present an exhibit on the story of Syracuse's famous "The Jerry Rescue", its relationship to themes and events in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and how race influences the legal system. The exhibit will relate the story of the rescue, arrests, trials and their outcomes during 1851-53.

Syracuse Stage is Central New York's premier professional theatre in residence at Syracuse University. Founded in 1974, Stage has produced more than 300 plays in over 40 seasons including a number of world, American, and East Coast premieres. Each season 70,000 patrons enjoy an adventurous mix of new plays, and bold interpretations of classics and musicals, featuring the finest theatre artists. In addition, Stage maintains a vital educational outreach program that annually serves more than 15,000 students from 14 counties. A solid core of subscribers and supporters helps keep Syracuse Stage a vibrant artistic presence in Central New York. Additional support comes from the government, foundations, corporations and Syracuse University. Syracuse Stage is a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, and a member of the Arts and Cultural Leadership Alliance (ACLA), the University Hill Corporation and the East Genesee Regent Association. Syracuse Stage is a member of The League of Resident Theatres (LORT), the largest professional theatre association in the country.


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