March 13, 2009: To Kill a Mockingbird at the Paramount Theatre
     For the past several years, Montana Repertory Theatre has been touring productions throughout the states, and their production of To Kill a Mockingbird landed at the Paramount Theatre last night (Thursday the 12th).  Despite the cold and the rain, a healthy crowd filled
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the historic theatre for a stage adaptation of the historic novel.
    The script, while an admirable telling of Harper Lee’s classic, was rather disjointed.  It failed to build the tension necessary to make the play effective, and wallowed in melodrama too frequently.  
     However, the cast gave a strong performance, despite the material.  A mix of professional actors and talented newcomers, it was easy to distinguish the seasoned pros - they were the ones without hunks of scenery in their mouths.  The young women who portrayed the novel’s hero kids should observe their older acting partners and reign in their performances - shouting does not equal acting, and emoting movements simply create caricature, not characters.
     But the enthusiastic audience was forgiving of those flaws, as the discussions we overheard following the show attested.  And any art form that can launch full of people into conversations about race, class structures, and prejudice is a winner.

Celebrity Alert:  The publicity folks for Asleep at the Wheel has tipped us off that Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thorton are planning to catch A Ride with Bob this weekend at The Long Center.  We’ll be attending tonight’s performance, so we’ll report back on any sightings.