June 1, 2020
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
A different perspective, 6th Street’s “The Book Club Play” 6th Street Playhouse opens musical season with “Gypsy” Live Theater Aug. 30— Sep. 8 Cinnabar opens 47th season with “Little Shop of Horrors” Shari’s Restaurant in Rohnert Park Spreckels’ “Eureka Day” opens 2019-2020 season JavAmoré Café Live Theater August 23 through September 1 Having a Mimosa with your breakfast… Visit the new Simmer Claw Bar Spring Thai in Cotati Entertainment News Welcome to Cotati Saigon Café Wing man finds a stationary home Acme Burger in Oliver’s shopping center is a must visit! 6th Street Playhouse opens season with “The Book Club Play” Live Theater for the Week of August 16 through August 25 Avalon players present “As You Like It” in Sonoma Entertainment News Jazz benefit scheduled for homeless Ten new shows “As You Like It” outdoors in Healdsburg RP ready for Founders Day Movement Lab presents "Just Dance" “Sylvia”: canine fun meets midlife crisis Entertainment News SSU chooses not to build outdoor pavilion at GMC SRT’s “The 39 Steps” defies definition Local Entertainment Calendar July 19 through July 28 Live Theater Aug. 2 thru Aug. 10 Entertainment news Entertainment News Entertainment News “Mamma Mia!” music, madness and matrimony “Bonnie and Clyde” Perfect for the round: SRT’s “Pippin” Entertainment news Local Entertainment Calendar July 12 through July 19 Local Entertainment Calendar July 26 through August 4 An evening with the Riccardi’s Entertainment News Cinnabar’s “Barber” hilarious! Entertainment news TAG’s first dramatic show Many Faces of 6th Street’s “Faceless” Entertainment News “Cinderella”: Fun for all Rehearsing scenes Entertainment news Spreckels Performing Arts Center: More than meets the eye New Dimensions in “Mockingbird” SRJC’s “Superstar,” one fun rock concert Entertainment News Twins, a new restaurant worth trying Tech drama students bring curriculum to the stage Entertainment news “Jesus Christ Superstar” Reprised by SRJC Evil witch at ‘Chasing Charming’ rehearsal Entertainment News “Barbeque Apocalypse”: Grilling, chilling and killing Princess No Name rehearsal Entertainment news Lawrence Jones presents two spring plays March madness in local plays Entertainment news Spreckels celebrates 30th season with party Entertainment news Skip Cliff Notes: See “All the Great Books Abridged” Delgado brings his bass to the “Million Dollar Quartet” “Hamlet” captivates viewers SFI to celebrate 30th anniversary of Spike Lee’s “Do the right thing” Delightful slapstick in “Moon Over Buffalo” “Dreams” All abilities adaptive dance presentation “The readiness is all” Spreckels presents Hamlet “Green Book” An odd couple travels the South in 1962 Captivating one woman shows “The Tailor of Gloucester” A new Christmas miracle Middle school madness: Songs, dances, a flying car called “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” Shrek the Musical: ‘Be a Believer’ The Play’s the thing in Sonoma County The Addams Family: Trick and Treat The Great God Pan: A Modern Purging SSU to host Sonoma County fire relief concert Students of South Korea’s Hanyang University to perform at Green Music Center

6th Street Playhouse reprises “To Kill a Mockingbird”

By: Janet and Lanny Lowery
April 26, 2019

Most of us met the ideal single father in the film version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” nearly sixty years ago.  Gregory Peck made an indelible stamp on the character of Atticus.  We can all hear him declare softly, sternly but with a father’s love, “Go home, Jem.  Take Scout and Dill home,” as he stands between the jail door and a would-be lynch mob.

Then Harper Lee’s other book,  “Go Set a Watchman” appears a few years ago, and gives us a more human view of a white Southern lawyer living in the 1950s.  The debate is on:  Is Atticus racist or a product of his Alabama culture?  Somewhere in between resides the real Atticus Finch.

The problem for the modern actor reprising the role of Atticus becomes two-fold.  How do you play Atticus without being imitation Gregory Peck and how do you represent Atticus as less than ideal and more human.  Long time community actor Jeff Cote’ found this iconic role to be close to home.

Cote’ relates personally to the character of Atticus as he is close to the character’s age, approaching fifty, and he’s a parent who works in an office.  Both Cote’ and Atticus, as fathers, present a high standard for their children.  They are both average men who have good morals.  So, for Cote’ the role, he says, “Is not a stretch, is closer to home, not so demanding of energy” to get into character.

The challenge for Cote’, playing someone that everyone already holds the image of  Cote’ says, “Gregory Peck made Atticus Finch bigger than life; he’s everyone’s ideal.  My Atticus is my version.”  He thinks how modern actors like Matthew McConaughey and Matt Damon might play Atticus rather than Gregory Peck. Cote’ developed his version of Atticus through a careful study of the character.

He read a biography of Atticus Finch by Joseph Christino that brought Atticus down off of the pedestal.  Cote’ said this book was “a full study of the character” and made Atticus “more human, less ideal.”  Yet, he was not the racist that is hinted at in “Go Set a Watchman.” 

Yet the story reminds the reader and spectator about racism and injustice.  For Cote,’ this timely production, while it puts “To Kill a Mockingbird” in a different light, resonates with the theme, the need for tolerance.  Cote’ reminds us, “We still have racial troubles.  People with supremacist views seem to be more prominent as the spotlight seems to be on the right or the left.  People are looking for a moral guide.”

Two other challenges offer themselves to any actors performing in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  First, using a Southern accent may be difficult for any actor who is a native Californian.  Dialect coach Kim Brickley works with the 6th Street cast to help them soften pronunciation while avoiding a caricature of Southern speaking.  

The other challenge may be working with children.  Cote’ sees the child actors in this play performing with confidence and competence.  Because the main children, Scout, Jem and Dill, have more lines and more scenes than Cote’ Atticus and all of the other players, they must be and are very good.  For example, Cote’ notes, Mario Giani Herrera (from Rohnert Park), who plays Jem has been seen in many bay area productions and most notably and recently as Pugsley in Spreckels’ “The Adams Family: the Musical.”  Ceceilia Brenner who plays Scout appeared in 6th Street Playhouse’s “Annie” last December.  Maggie Ward (from Rohnert Park) has the huge task of preparing for the role of Scout as an understudy.

Cote’ stated that this version of the play draws upon the three major sections of the novel integrating each in a well-balanced manner.  Just as the book develops the characters of the children and Atticus, Boo Radley and Bob Ewell, and the nature of the town, the play carefully establishes these personalities before plunging into the main conflicts.  The central section of the drama involves the trial of Tom Robinson.  The post-trial culminates with the redemption of Boo Radley.

All of this came to be through a careful, studied, and laborious work of love conducted by Director Marty Pistone.  Cote’, a veteran of many and varied directors, went out of his way to credit Pistone.  “There’s a lot of good heart behind this play.  Director Marty Pistone’s approach is to really talk and understand the times.  He brings a lot of heart, mindfulness and respect to this play.”  Coming from Cote’, an actor with the highest work ethic, suggests that this version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” promises to be an unforgettable Sonoma County production.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” opens at 6th Street Playhouse Apr. 26, and it runs for nineteen performances through May 19th.  The evening shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and the six matinees start at 2 p.m.  Tickets are available at 6thstreetplayhouse.com or by calling the Box Office at (707) 523-4185 ext. 1.