An American Classic Opens at Gloucester Stage
Gloucester Stage Company wraps up its 38th season of professional theater on Cape Ann with Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird" through October 27.
Scout: Carly Williams; Atticus Finch: Lewis D. Wheeler; Jem: Gloucester resident and Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshop student Nathaniel Oaks; Dill: Gloucester resident and Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshop student Gabriel Magee
Gloucester Stage Company wraps up its 38th season of professional theater on Cape Ann with Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird from October 6 through October 27 at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester. Director Judy Braha brings Christopher Sergel's stage adaptation of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning novel to life on the GSC stage. A timeless American classic, To Kill a Mockingbird explores civil rights and racism set against the backdrop of the segregated South of the 1930s and as seen through the eyes of 10 year old Scout Finch as she watches her father, attorney Atticus Finch, strive to prove the innocence of a black man unjustly accused of rape. The cast is led by Lewis D. Wheeler as Atticus Finch; Amanda Collins as Jean Louise Finch, Carly Williams as Scout Finch, Thomas Rhett Kee as Heck Tate, Cheryl Singleton as Calpurnia, Douglass Bowen-Flynn as Mr. Gilmer and Boo Radley, Stewart Evan Smith as Rev. Sykes, Cliff Blake as Bob Ewell and Mr. Radley, Thomas Grenon as Walter Cunningham and Judge Taylor, Teresa Langford as Mrs. Dubose and Mayella Ewell, and Aaron Dowdy as Tom Robinson. Two Gloucester residents and Gloucester Stage Youth Acting workshop students make their professional stage debut in To Kill A Mockingbird: Nathaniel Oaks as Jem and Gabriel Magee as Dill.
Judy Braha has been a director, teacher, actor, and arts advocate in New England for over three decades. Head of the MFA Directing program at Boston University School of Theatre for over ten years and faculty member in the BFA Acting program for over twenty, she most recently collaborated extensively with the BU Prison Education program as a guest artist in André de Quadros’ groundbreaking class, Empowering Song, and created the BU College of Fine Arts Collaborative Arts Incubator with de Quadros and Jeannette Guillemin. Braha’s teaching and guest artist credits also include Brandeis University, Emerson College, Yale University International Conference in Choral Conducting, Mount Holyoke College, M.I.T., Northeastern, Wheaton College, Trinity Rep. Conservatory, Suffolk University, and the Boston University Summer Theatre Institute.
She has directed regionally at many theaters including Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Boston Center for American Performance, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, New Repertory Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, and Nora Theatre Company. As a founding member of The New Ehrlich Theater, Ms. Braha directed many award-winning productions includingBent, The Fifth of July, and The House of Blue Leaves, paving the way for the theater renaissance in Boston’s South End. Most recently, Ms. Braha directedEmilie: La Marquise du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight for the Nora Theatre Company, Our Class and The Road to Meccafor BCAP, Othello for Actors' Shakespeare Project, Water By The Spoonfulfor BU/ SOT, and Joyce Van Dyke’s new plays Deported/ a dream play and The Oil Thief for Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. The Oil Thief won an Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding New Play in 2009. Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonite garnered actress Lee Mikeska Gardener an Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Actress in 2015. Ms. Braha’s upcoming projects include:Golda’s Balcony for the New Repertory Theatre and I Am Lear, a devised piece for Actors' Shakespeare Project. Ms. Braha continues to be a proud member of SDC, AEA, SAG-AFTRA and, of course, Stage Source where she sat on the Board of Directors for its first six years.
Lewis D. Wheeler and Amanda Collins most recently appeared at GSC in last summer's The Totalitarians directed by GSC Managing Director Jeff Zinn. Lewis D. Wheeler's other GSC credits include acting in Israel Horovitz's Gloucester Blue, Doubt: A Parable and An Ideal Husbandand directing Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth. Mr. Wheeler’s regional credits include No Man’s Land at American Repertory Theater; Long Day’s Journey Into Night,Pattern of Life, and Muckrakers at New Repertory Theatre; Chosen Child at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre; The Importance of Being Earnest, A Number, and The Glass Menagerie with Lyric Stage Company of Boston;Hand to God at SpeakEasy Stage; Richard II with Actors’ Shakespeare Project; Blood on the Snow with the Bostonian Society; Finish Line with Boston Theater Company; Arcadia, and Troilus and Cressida with the Publick Theatre; five seasons at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre (WHAT); as well as productions at American Stage (Florida), the Nora Theatre Company, Underground Railway Theater, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Stoneham Theatre, Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, and Wheelock Family Theatre. A founding member of Harbor Stage Company, Mr. Wheeler performed in The Seagull and Hedda Gabler and directed David Rabe’s Sticks and Bones. He next appears in Shakespeare in Loveat SpeakEasy Stage. His film and television credits include PBS’ Louisa May Alcott and the films The Company Men, Pink Panther 2, Black Mass, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Live by Night. Lewis’s father was renowned director David Wheeler, whose GSC credits include Speak Well of the Dead and The Crazy Girl in 2002 with Jill Clayburgh and her daughter, Lily Rabe. Mr. Wheeler earned his BA in Theatre and Film Studies at Cornell University and an MFA from American Film Institute.
Amanda Collins' previous GSC appearances include Out of Sterno, This Is Our Youth, 9 Circles and The Woman In Black. Regionally her credits include Saving Kitty with Jennifer Coolidgeat the Nora Theatre Company Taste of Sunrise at Wheelock Family Theatre;The Seagull with Harbor Stage Company; A Behanding in Spokane, The Bald Soprano, Speech and Debate, Shortstack, Colorado, and What Then at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater;When The World Was Green and An Ideal Husband at American Stage in Florida; 9 Circles with the Publick Theatre in Boston;The Island of Slaves with Orfeo Group; No Exit at the Payomet Performing Arts Center; Brecht’s The Life of Galileo with Underground Railway Theater; and Jester’s Dead with The Outfit in New York City. Her television credits include Olive Kitteridge on HBO, and the ABC pilot, Boston's Finest. On film,she has appeared in Sea of Trees. Ms. Collins received her BA in History and Theatre from Regis College.
Carly Williams makes her GSC debut as Scout. Her regional credits include Bielke in Fiddler on the Roof at New Rep; Ballet Girl inBilly Elliot at Ocean State; Fern understudy and Ensemble in Charlotte’s Web , and Young Frog inA Year with Frog & Toad at Wheelock Family Theater; and Young Cosette in Les Miserables at North Shore Music Theater. She has also performed in numerous productions at the Capachione School of Performing Arts.
Gloucester's Nate Oaks and Gabriel Magee make their professional debut in To Kill A Mockingbird, but both have appeared on stage at GSC many times as members of the Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshop program, a professional training program for young actors. Most recently at GSC , Mr. Oaks appeared in Israel Horovitz's New Shorts in August. He spent the summer performing weekly as a member of the Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshop Playtime Stories Company. He has appeared in the Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshop annual production, Holiday Delights in 2015 and 2016. His community theater credits include Rooster in Annie and the Genie in Aladdin at the Hamilton Wenham Community House. Born and raised in New York City, he discovered a love for acting after moving to Gloucester and appearing in a Gloucester Education Foundation supported production of Robin Hood. He went on to enroll in the Youth Acting Workshop at Gloucester Stage where he remains an active member. Nate Oaks is currently an eighth grader at Gloucester's O'Maley Innovation Middle School. Ten-year-old Gabriel Magee has been a member of the Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshop since 2011 following in the footsteps of his older brother and sister, Zachary and Anita. He has performed in the YAW annual production of Holiday Delights for six years, playing a wide variety of roles including Peter Crachit, PigPen and most recently, Max, the Grinch's Dog opposite Mockingbird cast mate Nate Oaks as the Grinch in December 2016. Gabriel Magee is a fifth grader at East Gloucester Elementary School.
The majority of the To Kill A Mockingbird company make their Gloucester Stage debut. A native of Brooklyn NY, Cheryl Singleton has been performing both scripted and improvised work in Boston for almost 20 years. Her Boston area credits include Billy Elliot at Wheelock Family Theatre; the IRNE nominated Intimate Apparel with Lyric Stage; Absence at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre; Dollhouse, Rent and Passing Strange with New Repertory Theater; and The Comedy of Errors with Commonwealth Shakespeare. In Boston, Thomas Grenon has appeared with Actors’ Shakespeare Project in The Tempest, Othello and Measure for Measure; with Bridge Repertory in Mrs. Packard; with Zeitgeist Stage Company in A Great Wilderness and Bent; with Hub Theatre Company in Loot and with Artists’ Theatre of Boston inDaughter of Venus. Teresa Langford's Off-Broadway credits include Dave Malloy and Jason Craig’s Beardo with Pipeline Theatre Company. She also appeared in Martyr’d Signs with Hudson Shakespeare Company; You Belong to the City at Manhattan Rep; and in the indie feature film Conundrum!
Cliff Blake performs frequently in projects that tackle race, most recently Obie winner Robbie McCauley’s Willie Loman in her acclaimed multi-racial Death of a Salesman. He was Atticus in Roxbury Rep’s IRNE-nominatedTo Kill a Mockingbird, Captain Taylor in A Soldier’s Play, Iago in Othello, Otto in The Diary of Anne Frank, and George in Of Mice and Men. As playwright, his 2017 short, The NiggerLover was presented at Hibernian Hall and his first full-length play, Mother’s Day was just selected for The Negro Ensemble Company’s reading series in New York City. He was Mitch in the Off-Broadway revival of Tuesdays with Morrie at Cherry Lane, Gooper in Cat on a Hot Tin Roofwith Broadway’s Keir Dullea and Tony nominee Mia Dillon and Harry the Horse on the 2015 Guys and Dolls National Tour.
Thomas Rhett Kee was an original American cast member of the A.R.T./Punchdrunk UK production of Sleep No More. He has also appeared at Shakespeare & Company, Boston Playwright’s Theatre, Wellfleet Harbor Actor’s Theater (WHAT), the Vineyard Playhouse, and New Repertory Theatre. This fall he will appear in the feature film Chappaquiddick directed by John Curran.
Douglass Bowen-Flynn's regional credits include Boston Children’s Theatre’s Reflection of a Rock Lobster (IRNE Winner Best New Play) and To Kill a Mockingbird; American Repertory Theatre’sWe Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!and Three Farces and a Funeral; Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s Henry V and Macbeth; Lyric Stage Company’sBook of Days; Publick Theatre’s Troilus and Cressida; New Repertory Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet and Company One’sThe Overwhelming.
Boston based actor Stewart Evan Smith's recent theater credits include Edward II with Actors' Shakespeare Project; Murph with Open Theatre Project; Lucky Stiff at Stoneham Theatre; Noises Off at Priscilla Beach Theatre; and Dog Act with Theatre on Fire. He is an actor with Bay Colony Shakespeare Company’s Performance in Education (PIE) program, playing Macbeth in their educational tour of that play. He appears regularly in the web series, We’ve Got History and Staying in Boston.
Atlanta Georgia native Aaron Dowdy is a recent graduate of Boston University where he received his BFA in acting. While a student at BU Mr. Dowdy played a variety of roles including: Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing; Chutes & Ladders in Water By The Spoonful; BabbyBobby in The Cripple of Inishmaan; and Boy in A Taste of Honey. To Kill A Mockingbird is his second professional acting credit, following appearing in the ensemble of Company One’s Colossal.
Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird runs from October 6 through October 27 at Gloucester Stage. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 pm with a special Wednesday evening performance on Wednesday, October 11 at 7:30 pm and a special Tuesday evening performance on Tuesday, October 24 at 7:30 pm. Following the 2 pm performances on Sunday, October 15 and Sunday, October 22, audiences are invited to free post-show discussions with the artists from To Kill A Mockingbird. Single ticket prices are $32 to $42 with discounts available for Preview Performances, Cape Ann Residents, Senior Citizens and Patrons 25 years old and under. In addition to regular reserved tickets, Pay What You Wish tickets are available for the Saturday, October 7 matinee at 2 pm. Pay What You Wish tickets can only be purchased day of show at the door. All performances are held at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For more information about Gloucester Stage, or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit gloucesterstage.com.