Thursday, September 29, 2011

THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE OF NEW JERSEY’S 49TH SEASON CONTINUES WITH AMERICA’S BELOVED CLASSIC “TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD”

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
By Harper Lee; adapted by Christopher Sergel
Directed by Joe Discher

WHEN: October 12 - November 20
WHERE:
Main Stage, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, 36 Madison Avenue (on the campus of Drew University), Madison
TICKETS: call the box office at 973.408.5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org

The characters of Atticus Finch, Scout, and Boo Radley have become iconic figures in the American consciousness and conscience. Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is considered one of the most important works of the 20th century, and it is a must for every new generation.

The story's enduring spell stems in part from the juxtaposition of the simple, yet astute innocence of a child's point of view in the face of terrible and terribly complex adult problems and biases. The fundamental lessons about compassion, integrity and courage are breath-taking and life-changing.

Set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize novel is considered one of the most important works of the 20th century and features the beloved characters Scout, her brother Jem and their father Atticus Finch, a lawyer who defends a black man accused of a crime against a white woman. Scout recounts her father’s struggle to inspire compassion in his community, and her narrative proves that even the smallest acts of love have a profound impact on the lives of others.

Making her Shakespeare Theatre debut is seventh grader Emmanuelle Nadeau of Westfield who plays Scout. She played Puck in New Jersey Youth Theatre’s musical comedy Midnight Madness and appeared in the Paper Mill Playhouse New Voices Concert I’ll Take Manhattan.  She has also appeared in Stuart Little and Maurice Sendak and Carole King’s Really Rosie.

Frankie Seratch, making his Shakespeare Theatre debut, plays Jem.   Seratch made his off-Broadway debut as Tony-nominee Kerry Butler’s son in Pandora’s Box at New York Musical Theatre Festival.  He has also appeared in The Family Shakespeare, Barrier Island, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, The Music Man, and A Christmas Story

Brent Harris plays Atticus Finch.  Harris recently appeared in the Shakespeare Theatre production of Timon of Athens and prior to that appeared as Scar in the national tour of The Lion King.  He has also appeared at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Seattle Repertory Theatre.  He was nominated for a Barrymore Award for Outstanding Leading Actor for his role in Orson’s Shadow at Philadelphia Theatre Company.

Nisi Sturgis returns to The Shakespeare Theatre to play Jean Louise Finch, the grown-up Scout.  Sturgis has appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre in I Capture the Castle, Arms and the Man, A Streetcar Named Desire and Pride and Prejudice.  Her Broadway and off-Broadway credits include The 39 Steps, Intimate Apparel, and Perfect Harmony.  This Fall, she can be seen in the HBO hit series Boardwalk Empire.    

Returning for his 10th Season, Jake Berger plays Boo Radley.  Berger appeared in The Theatre’s productions of The Grapes of Wrath, The Taming of the Shrew and, on the Outdoor Stage, in The Tempest.  He has also appeared at the Maryland Shakespeare Festival and most recently with Fort Point Theatre Channel and Shakespeare & Company. 

Marjorie Johnson makes her Shakespeare Theatre debut as Calpurnia.  Johnson appeared in the Broadway production of Little Foxes and off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre, Playwrights Horizons and the Pearl Theatre.

SPECIAL EVENT: Looking Back with Scout: A Conversation with Mary Badham

In conjunction with the Theatre’s production, Academy Award-nominated actress Mary Badham who played Scout opposite Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the most poignant films in cinematic history, will appear at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey on Monday, November 7, and Tuesday, November 8, at 7:30 PM.  The actress will recall her memories on the set of the 1962 blockbuster film and discuss the book’s themes of tolerance, justice and compassion.  Each evening will feature an extensive question-and-answer session with the audience.

Over the years following the release of the film, Badham maintained close contact with Gregory Peck and occasionally accompanied him on his one-man-show lecture tours and to award ceremonies. Besides To Kill A Mockingbird, Badham is also known for her role as Sport Sharewood in The Bewitchin' Pool, the final episode of the original Twilight Zone series. She also appeared in the films Let's Kill Uncle and This Property Is Condemned with Robert Redford and Natalie Wood before retiring as an actress. In 2005, she was brought out of retirement to appear in the film Our Very Own with Allison Janney, Keith Carradine, and Jason Ritter and directed by Shakespeare Theatre company member Cameron Watson. Looking Back with Scout: A Conversation with Mary Badham is sponsored, in part, by the Morristown law firm of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter. 

Tickets to the event are $40 and $50 and can be purchased by calling The Shakespeare Theatre box office at 973.408.5600 or visiting www.ShakespeareNJ.org.  The event will take place at The Shakespeare Theatre’s F. M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Ave. in Madison.