To Kill a Mockingbird
by San Diego Junior Theatre

Erin Petersen, Thomas Mack, and Trevor Johnson. Photo by Ken Jacques.It’s one of the greatest books and greatest films of all time. Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-winning story is a semi-autobiographical account narrated by Jean-Louise Finch who tells us of her small, Depression-era hometown of Maycomb, Alabama, the ordinary but interesting folks who lived there, and about the trial of a black man named Tom Robinson who was wrongly accused of raping a white woman.

But most of all she tells us about her father Atticus, the lawyer who defended Tom Robinson. A man who stood up for what was right regardless of what was said about him, but who did so without anger or violence. A man who believed the world would be a much better place if we tried to see things from other people’s point of view – if we put ourselves into other people’s skin and walk around in it.

Under the artful direction of Glynn Bedington and Desha Crownover, San Diego Junior Theatre put on a beautiful and loving production of this classic at their theatre-in-the-round space in Chula Vista. Set Designer Tony Cucuzzella’s original, unassuming set places the front porches of the homes in Maycomb in the corners between the rows of seats. The only set piece we see in the center of the stage is an old tire swing that can be moved out of the way when we are no longer near the Finch home.

The story begins with the adult Jean-Louise Finch reminiscing with us about her memories of her father, her brother, and her town, all while clutching a small, white flower in her hands. Erin Petersen is brilliant in the role. Speaking with her gentle southern accent with charm, tenderness, and genuine feeling. Doing so with subtle changes and expressions as she reacts to the actors around her who play out her memories – some humorous and some sad, some frightening and some beautiful.

The rest of the great cast is led by the patient, calm, and strong presence of Trevor Johnson as Atticus Finch, a widower in his fifties raising two young children, guiding them with a loving and wise hand while calmly but courageously fighting for Tom Robinson both in the courtroom and in town. Michael Barahura is his son Jem filled with normal childhood mischief and plenty of his father’s courage. Andelyn Bedington is the playful and tough tomboy Scout (Jean-Louise’s early nickname) who is just learning about the complex world around her where things are never black and white. David Gibbs is young Dill, a visiting neighbor boy who incites them into much of their mischief. Together their adventures take them from daring to approach the mysterious house of local never-seen bogeyman Boo Radley, to standing with Atticus between a vigilante mob and Tom Robinson.

The most intense scene of the production is Tom Robinson’s trial. Nate Woods is menacing as the cruel, ignorant bigot Bob Ewell, the father of the alleged rape victim Mayella Ewell. Jenna Selby is remarkably convincing as she uncomfortably gives her damning testimony, and as she later reacts subtly to Tom’s testimony. Thomas Mack is riveting as he fearfully tries to convince an all-white jury of his innocence.

The deep cast also includes Cashae Overton as an amusingly intimidating Calpurnia, Madeleine Barker as the comforting neighbor Maudie, Rissa Dickey as the good-intentioned Sheriff Tate with a personality nicely reminiscent of the film, Alexandra Coon as the feisty, old confederate widow Mrs. Dubose, Sarah Jane White as the gossipy Stephanie Crawford, Catie Marron as the coldly pragmatic prosecuting attorney, Kristen Green as the sympathetic Judge Taylor, and Alex Dunbar as the shy Boo Radley who, with the help of Atticus, will teach Jean-Louise such an important lesson about life.

Performs March 16-25, 2007

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Andelyn Bedington, Trevor Johnson, and Michael Barahura. Photo by Ken Jacques.Jem: Michael Barahura
Maudie Atkinson: Madeleine Barker
Scout: Andelyn Bedington
Helen Robinson/Congregation/Choir: Guyanna Bedington
Mrs. Dubose: Alexandra Coon
Heck Tate: Rissa Dickey
Nathan/Boo Radley: Alex Dunbar
Dill: David Gibbs
Judge Taylor: Kristen Green
Atticus Finch: Trevor Johnson
Tom Robinson/Congregation/Choir: Thomas Mack
Prosecutor Gilmore: Catie Marron
Calpurnia/Congregation/Choir: Cashae Overton
Congregation/Choir: Erica Panado
Walter Cunningham: Dane Petersen
Jean-Louise: Erin Petersen
Sister Sykes/Congregation/Choir: Briana Reed
Mayella Ewell: Jenna Selby
Stephanie Crawford: Sarah Jane White
Bob Ewell: Nate Woods


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