Harper Lee's classic hits a Norcross stage


Photo: Cathy Seith Scout (Alexis Seith) left, watches as Atticus Finch, (Bob Smith) and Calpurnia (Deidra Jones) comfort Helen Robinson (Dionna Davis) in "To Kill a Mockingbird" at Lionheart Theater in Norcross.


• What: “To Kill a Mockingbird”

• When: Opens 7:30 p.m. today, and runs 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through May 12

• Where: Lionheart Theatre, 10 College St., Norcross

• Cost: $11 to $16

• For more information: Visit www.lionheartthea...

NORCROSS -- In 1960, Southern author Harper Lee published her novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," which became a hit almost immediately, winning a Pulitzer Prize.

Today, Lionheart Theatre brings Lee's story of race, class, courage, compassion and gender roles in the South to life.

"'Mockingbird' is one of the greatest stories to have come out of one of America's greatest storytellers," director Joanie McElroy said. "Folks are already hooked before they even walk into the theater."

The story takes place during the Great Depression in a fictional town in Alabama. It focuses on six-year-old Scout Finch (played by Alexis Seith), who lives with her older brother Jem (Nicolas Renard) and their widowed father Atticus (Bob Smith), a lawyer.

The children try to get to know their shy neighbor while their father is defending a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman.

The tale takes many twists and turns, that in the end shows Scout the truth about people, whether good or bad, and she loses some of her childhood innocence.

To accompany the play, Lionheart also presents "Thus Spoke the Mockingbird" on May 2 and 9. It is a two-woman play depicting Lee and her motivations for writing the book. McElroy wrote this drama because she felt a connection with Lee's story, both being from Alabama.

"Ms. Lee and I are both 'Bama girls," she said. "I think we both felt misunderstood growing up, had a strong connection to our families and pretty much had reign over the neighborhood -- running around barefoot, climbing trees and stealing muscadines off of the neighbor's arbor. I really connected to her personal story and that enriched the experience for me in reading 'To Kill a Mockingbird.'"

"To Kill a Mockingbird" runs through May 12.