Classic book brought to the stage

Xavier Players perform “To Kill a Mockingbird,” alumnus finds part fitting | October 25, 2002

The Xavier Players theatrical group is teaming up with Cincinnati Children’s Theatre for a production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The play brings to life Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, which tells the coming-of-age story of Scout Finch and her brother, Jem, in 1930s Alabama. Performances run through Oct. 27. All shows are in the Gallagher Student Center theater at 8:00 p.m. The story focuses on the trial of a black man accused of molesting a white woman. Atticus Finch, Scout and Jem’s father, is defending the accused assailant. Actors from both the Xavier Players and Children’s Theatre are filling most of the roles. Taking on the character Horace Gilmer, the prosecuting attorney who plays opposite Atticus, is 1996 graduate Bob Herzog. Currently, Herzog, who is better known as the Saturday afternoon movie host for the WB64 television channel, just completed law school and is personally contemplating which career path he should take—law or acting. “I’m excited to be doing a show at Xavier,” Herzog says. “It’s a weird kind of homecoming for me.” Herzog remembers starring as George in “Our Town” on the old stage during his days at the University. “I saw some pictures of students from past shows. I looked up and said to myself, ‘Who’s that young guy?’ and then I realized it was me.” The theme of the play is delivered through the eyes of Scout and Jem, who befriend a mentally handicapped man named Boo Radley. The two children learn that the world isn’t always fair and that prejudice is a very real aspect of that world. To that end, there are special daytime performances scheduled for students from 31 local middle, junior and high schools as a part of the Children’s Theatre’s young adult series. “Xavier University has always been involved and invested in the cultural aspects of our town,” says Jack Louiso, artistic director for Children’s Theatre. “The new facility lends itself to a more intimate theater presentation, making a show like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ more accessible to young audiences and forwarding the purpose of the young adult series: complementing a teacher’s curriculum.” Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students. All the daytime productions for schools are sold out. For tickets, call 513 745-3939.