NEPA Scene Staff

Actors Circle opens 37th season with ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Providence Playhouse in Scranton Sept. 13-23

Actors Circle opens 37th season with ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Providence Playhouse in Scranton Sept. 13-23
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From a press release:

Community theatre group Actors Circle will open its 37th season with the beloved drama “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Christopher Sergel, from the classic novel by Harper Lee, at the Providence Playhouse in Scranton on Thursday, Sept. 13 through Sunday, Sept. 23.

The show follows a young woman who remembers her childhood in a quiet southern town in which her father, Atticus Finch, defended an innocent black man against rape charges but ended up in a maelstrom of hate and prejudice.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” was published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on Lee’s observations of her family, her neighbors, and an event that occurred near her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama in 1936 when she was 10 years old. The book was made into the well-received 1962 film of the same name starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.

The play adaptation debuted in 1990 in Monroeville, which labels itself as “the literary capital of Alabama.” The play runs every May on the county courthouse grounds, and townspeople make up the cast. White male audience members are chosen at the intermission to make up the jury. During the courtroom scene, the production moves into the Monroe County Courthouse and the audience is racially segregated. “It becomes part of the town ritual, like the religious underpinning of Mardi Gras. With the whole town crowded around the actual courthouse, it’s part of a central, civic education – what Monroeville aspires to be,” author Albert Murray said.

Sergel’s play toured in the United Kingdom starting at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds in 2006, and again in 2011 starting at the York Theatre Royal, both productions featuring Duncan Preston as Atticus Finch. The play also opened the 2013 season at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London, where it played to full houses and starred Robert Sean Leonard as Atticus Finch, his first London appearance in 22 years. The production returned to the venue to close the 2014 season, prior to a U.K. tour.

The Actors Circle show is directed by Patti Purcell and stars Eric Lutz as Atticus Fitch, Brink Powell as Jean Louis/Narrator, Grace Kapacs as Scout, with Christopher Fisher, Jacob Bohenek, Carol Davis, Nunzio Caccamo, William Zeranski, Celine Carlier, Betsy Seaforth, Darrius Pantophlet, John Arena, JP McGowan, John McNulty, Stephanie Booth, Justin O’Hearn, and Precious Flowers.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” runs at the Providence Playhouse (1256 Providence Rd., Scranton) on Thursdays though Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. on Sept. 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, and 23. Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors, and $8 for students, with the exception of Thursday, Sept. 13, when tickets are $8 for general admission and seniors and $6 for students.

For reservations, call 570-342-9707 or e-mail

The royalty sponsor for this show is Matt Burne Honda in Scranton. It is also presented through a special grant from the Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department.

Actors Circle was formed in 1982. A group of actors was sitting in a circle on the floor of the University of Scranton auditorium and decided on the name for their organization before performing their first production, “The Crucible.” Originally, the group was known as the Jefferson Hall Players, but the University asked them to change the name because there was already a small theater group at the University with that same name.

Over the years, Actors Circle has also performed at other venues, such as the Scranton Cultural Center, the Century Club, the Jewish Community Center, Nay Aug Park, the Everhart Museum, the Lackawanna Children’s Library, the Lackawanna County Courthouse, and the Tripp House.

In 1984, Providence Playhouse became home to Actors Circle. In this small intimate theater, productions such as comedies, dramas, classics, musicals, plays from well-known authors, and obscure, but important playwrights have been performed. Actors Circle has also commissioned original works, such as the adaptation of “Frankenstein” by Scranton native Ted LoRusso and an original play by John McInerney. Other theatrical organizations have also been welcomed to perform in the home of Actors Circle, such as DGM Productions, Inc.

The founders’ mission was to keep live theatre accessible to the general public, as well as to educate and enlighten not only audiences, but actors, directors, technical crew, and stage managers as well. Actors Circle continues to strive to fulfill this goal by providing the community with laughter and thought-provoking performances.