Review: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a courtroom drama at its best

From left to right: Mariah Lee ("Mayella Ewell"), Richard Thomas ("Atticus Finch") and The Company of 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Detroit — Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” arrives at the Fisher Theater in Detroit from March 5-17, 2024.  This is a play by Aaron Sorkin based on the novel published in 1960.  ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ received a Pulitzer Prize in 1961.  A film was made in 1962 starring Gregory Peck, Robert Duvall, William Windom and Alice Ghostly.  It was a memorable film to me and one of my favorite films of all time.

The scene was set in 1934 in the Deep South in a fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama.  Richard Thomas, an Emmy award-winning actor, who was on the series ‘The Waltons’ played Atticus Finch in this new play.  Mr. Finch said he was a small town lawyer that was paid in vegetables.  The town judge asks Atticus to defend Tom Robinson (Yaegel T. Welch), a black man accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white girl.

Mr. Finch’s daughter, Scout, (Maeve Moynihan) and son, Jeremy or “Jem” (Justin Mark) narrate the story as it unfolds.

On the day of the trial, it was revealed that Tom Robinson entered the Ewell property at Mayella’s request to cut up a chiffarobe to use as firewood.  It appears that Mayella had been beaten at that time.  But how could that be possible when Tom’s left arm was disabled due to a farm equipment accident years ago?  Mr. Finch reveals that Mr. Ewell (Mayella’s father) is left handed and as he catches Mayella making advances to Tom,  is outraged.  He also stated that she was never examined by a doctor after the rape.  Hmmmm….

In closing argument, Atticus asks the all white jury to put aside any prejudice and declare him innocent.  However, what does the jury decide?   The ending will shock you.

As a result, Atticus encourages his children to be empathic, tolerant and just.  They learn a valuable lesson about courage, compassion and prejudice.  Atticus relays to his children something his father told him, “It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

The play lasted just shy of three hours with a 15-minute intermission.  Performance times for “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Fisher Theater located at 3011 W. Grand Blvd. are:  

  • Tuesday through Saturday evening performances at 7:30 p.m.     
  • Saturday matinee at 2:00 p.m.     
  • Sunday matinee at 1:00 p.m.     
  • Sunday evening performance at 6:30 p.m.

Individual tickets for “To Kill a Mockingbird” start at $43 and can be purchased online at and in person at the Fisher Theater box office.

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