Aaron Sorkin’s To Kill a Mockingbird a timeless story

Aaron Sorkin’s To Kill a Mockingbird a timeless story March 30, 2024

Aaron Sorkin’s stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is a timeless, touching story of an idealistic father and his children learning that his faith in his neighbors is ill-placed.

Richard Thomas as Atticus Finch is subtle, charming and commanding. An Emmy Award-winning actor for his performance in the iconic series The Waltons, Thomas may be recognized for his recent work on the Netflix series Ozark.

Arianna Gayle Stucki, Richard Thomas, Stephen Elrod, Richard Poe, Greg Wood and Joey Collins in To Kill A Mockingbird Julieta Cervantes
Arianna Gayle Stucki, Richard Thomas, Stephen Elrod, Richard Poe, Greg Wood and Joey Collins in To Kill A Mockingbird. photo/Julieta Cervantes

Set in Alabama in 1934, Lee’s enduring story of racial injustice and childhood innocence centers on small-town lawyer Atticus, his daughter Scout, and her brother Jem, their housekeeper and caretaker, Calpurnia, their visiting friend Dill, and a mysterious neighbor, the reclusive Arthur “Boo” Radley.

Thomas carries Atticus across an arc of emotions that transforms him from an affable, kind pillar of the community eager to see the best in everyone, to a compromising father struggling to protect his children.

The national touring cast includes Mary Badham, who received an Oscar nomination for playing Scout in the 1962 To Kill a Mockingbird film. Yaegel T. Welch who also played Tom Robinson in the Broadway production is a particular standout.

The tour began in Texas last September and is scheduled to end June 30 in Thousand Oaks, Ca. after visiting more than 40 cities.

For more information visit: https://tokillamockingbirdbroadway.com

That’s the review . . . now here’s my very personal stamp on Richard Thomas.

Author Jim Meisner Jr. (left) and Richard Thomas.

We watched To Kill a Mockingbird from the front row.

The next day I left the following letter at the box office.

Dear Mr. Thomas,

Enclosed is a photo of the two of us. Would you please sign it and drop it into the self-addressed, stamped envelope?

I enjoyed our brief interaction when the photo was taken during your visit to the Walton’s Mountain Museum. Your presence at the event made the entire atmosphere more electric than previous events at the museum, including the day it opened.

You received a special and unique gift in the way you’ve touched the lives of millions of people, and you continue to touch their lives through the magic of reruns and in performances of Atticus Finch.

Growing up, my friends and family called me Jay, and my parents affectionately called me Jay-Boy, after your character. It wasn’t until I was an adult and read Earl’s novel, did I learn how close my name really was to his character’s name of Clay-Boy.

My fiancé and I very much enjoyed your performance last night. We were in the front row next to the couple scrolling Instagram on their phones throughout the first act. We’re certain at least some of the cast saw them. They didn’t get back on their phones again after we spoke to them.

Your performance, like that of the entire cast, was first rate. It was a moving story told by true masters made better by the performers around them. I’ll probably write about the performance on my blog Faith on the Fringe.

Thank you for your willingness to travel and bring world class plays to Richmond, Virginia.

You may be interested to know that John Wilkes Booth performed regularly in Richmond beginning in 1858. According to Wikipedia, “On Oct. 5, 1858, he played the part of Horatio in Hamlet, alongside his older brother Edwin in the title role. Booth performed in 83 plays in 1858.” You probably know that Edwin and John would eventually become nationally known actors like their father before them. Edwin was a founding member of the Player’s Club in New York City.

When you come to Richmond, you walk the paths of history. I hope you had the opportunity to explore our unique city the past few days. I can’t begin to imagine two performances a day this weekend.

Thank you for signing my photo and thank you for sharing your talent with the world and bringing joy to so many of us.

Jim Meisner, Jr.

I’ve dropped off letters at the box office before with self-addressed stamped envelopes and have always gotten the envelope back in the mail.

Alas, not this time. I received no response.

From everything I’ve read over the years, Thomas appears to be such a kind man that I can’t imagine him simply throwing my letter in the trash. I have to believe that the letter never got to him.

Unfortunately, that’s how the story ends, today. Perhaps I’ll have a better ending someday. But that day is not today.


I received a response.

More than two months after leaving the envelope at the box office, and well after the show left town, I received my envelope and my autographed photo. No explanation of where the envelop has been . . . in his dressing room, in a theater office, in his suitcase, who knows.

All I know is I have an autographed photo of the two of us.

Here are a few other articles I’ve written from my unique perspective.

The Day My Daughter Met President Jimmy Carter

The Day I Met Jimmy Buffett

Midnight Mass— a mini review


Jim Meisner, Jr. is the author of the novel Faith, Hope, and Baseball, available on Amazon, or follow this link to order an autographed copy. He created the Facebook page Faith on the Fringe.

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