PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Taking the stage at Center City's Kimmel Cultural Campus is a new play based on an American classic and it's receiving an impassioned Broadway revival. ''
Karen Rogers has the story in this week's 6abc Loves the Arts.
Broadway's 'To Kill A Mockingbird' is stopping in Philadelphia on its first national tour across the country.
"It's not going to just be a beloved old classic on the road, it's going to be something a lot more plugged in and electric," says Richard Thomas.
The new adaptation by Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin is based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize novel. Emmy-award winning actor Richard Thomas will play defense lawyer Atticus Finch.
Atticus is a single father in the play.
"We have great chemistry," says Yaegel T. Welch, who plays Tom Robinson, an innocent man, wrongly accused of rape.
"It's about a white family in the rural south of Macomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression, 1934," says Welch, "and the laws of that world aka Jim Crow."
The new version addresses current mainstream issues, starting with the pandemic.
Social injustices highlighted during the pandemic, including the murder of George Floyd, changed the tone of the play.
And it changed how audiences responded.
"They even started to have this sort of like passion towards the injustice that was happening to Tom Robinson because of what they witnessed," says Welch.
The show also stars the original film's 'Scout', Mary Badham.
"Now she's playing Ms. Dubose, an eviler character," says Welch.
The goal is to produce universal empathy.
"It should make us think about how we are living our lives right now. This moment!" says Thomas.
'To Kill a Mockingbird" will play through July 24th at the Academy of Music.
240 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102