We had the privilege of seeing the Broadway production of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Ohio Theatre last Saturday. Stepping into the Ohio Theatre alone is a memorable experience with its vast array of artistic ceilings, lamps, wallpaper, grandiose chandelier, interestingly designed carpet, and gold upon gold accents throughout the theatre. We each took a good amount of photos inside and out of the “Official Theatre of the State of Ohio”, which was built in 1928 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977. Visitors can feel the history of this place; it’s like the walls speak to you when standing in awe of their presence.
Upon being ushered to our seats and being provided with our programs, Broadway’s current production of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” promptly started at 2:00 pm. Impressively, it was a packed house with not one empty seat, which was especially notable for a matinee showtime. The crowd respectfully quieted down to silence as soon as the actors took the stage.
The set design was simple yet complicated much like the plot of the story. With the roof of the porch arriving in suspension by way of cables, along with a black screen backdrop to imply the inside of the house for scenes that consisted of actions like setting the dinner table, the set design provided versatility. Windows, doors, the porch flooring, stairs, and the courtroom chairs and divisions rolled in on wheels provided an effective unique form for the various locations throughout the story.
All of the acting was on target. We learned from a fellow audience member during intermission that the actress, Mary Badham, who played the role of Scout in the 1962 film version of the story, was playing the role of Mrs. Dubose on the stage for this show! She proved to be a spunky spirit still.
The cast received a standing ovation from a full house at the end of the play. With the story’s human challenges, depth of heart and moral compass, good old fashion humor, and sprinkled spiritual inspirations, it’s easy to understand how “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been one of Broadway’s more commercially successful straight plays. Following the show, we left with a souvenir magnet, thoughtful minds, sparked discussion, and impacted hearts.