The Trial Is Coming: “To Kill a Mockingbird” Coming to The Stanley

May 16, 2024

The Trial Is Coming: “To Kill a Mockingbird” Coming to The Stanley

By: Charles Buckley


Caption: “To Kill a Mockingbird” Production Photo (Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes)

The famous trial is making its way across America, and it’s coming to Utica. On Tuesday, June 4, and Wednesday, June 5, the famous story “To Kill a Mockingbird” will be gracing the Stanley Theater stage. Set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, the story follows Atticus Finch and his two kids, Scout (Jean Louise), and Jeremy (Jem) as they navigate an infamous trial. Atticus is called to defend a black man named Tom Robinson who has been accused of raping a white woman by the name of Mayella Ewell, The Ewells are infamous for being so-called “White Trash” and not following the rules or laws within their town. As the trial comes to a head, the outcome leads to an event that no one, including Scout and Jem or even Atticus, will ever forget.

Actor Yaegel Welch, who’s playing the character of Tom Robinson says that he’s always been a fan of the story, and when he saw the chance to play the character, he took it.

“I read the book in high school and saw the movie in grad school, I thought the story was relevant and thought that the part was a great part for me,” Welch said. “I immediately wanted it; I knew the part had some meat to it and could challenge me and would also be relevant to me sociologically.”

Caption: “To Kill a Mockingbird” Production Photo (Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes)

Welch says that in terms of the story, while it is considered a period piece, its subject matter is something that is still very prevalent today in the present.

“Its current in terms of the events that happen, but in terms of when it happened it’s a period piece as the world was just a very different space,” Welch said. “I tried my best to connect to the authentic parts that resonated with me, but also in terms of what Aaron Sorkin, the playwright wanted as he wrote this play.”

Welch says that the trial is what truly makes the story current but also a period piece.  He says that while the trial may take place in a previous era of American history, it also allows us as a modern-day audience to see ourselves and connect our circumstances within the story.

“Through this we don’t feel disconnected and in other words feel like we have a lot more to learn from the story,” Welch said.

Welch says that one of his favorite things about working in the show is the travel and experiencing the different parts of the country that he hasn’t seen yet, as well as revisiting places he used to go to or live.

“I’m in Atlanta at the Fox theatre, I went to college in Atlanta at Morehouse College and its sort of a full circle moment for me that I get to perform at the Fox theatre; a place I couldn’t even afford to buy a ticket to when I was going to school here,” Welch said.

Welch says that being in Atlanta gave him a realization of how far he’s come in life as he’s now able to not only come to the Fox theatre but be able to perform for everyone. He also says that traveling has allowed him to get to know the different spaces around the country that they’ve performed at as well as the communities in the areas.

“The communities are all so different, so the story resonates differently in each different community, whether it be the North, South, Midwest, even when we performed in Canada. It sort of gives me a larger perspective on the world,” Welch said. “but I enjoy it as it allows me to explore the story not only in different spaces, but just overall in the different parts of America.”

Caption: “To Kill a Mockingbird” Production Photo” (Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes)

Welch says that he hopes the biggest message audiences take away from seeing the show is the message of Empathy.

“I think if we can all learn that just because something isn’t happening to you, it doesn’t mean that you can’t help or understand or contribute to eradicating some type of injustice,” Welch said. “Even if it doesn’t pertain to you, you don’t have to be a woman to care about women’s rights, an immigrant to care about immigrant’s rights, queer to care about queer rights, or black to care about the rights for people of color, what you have to do is be an empathetic person which is why I think the story resonated so much when it first came out.”

If you’re interested in coming to see the show, you can purchase tickets for the show online at



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