Mary Badham, Hollywood’s original Scout Finch in the 1962 film of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, has been cast in the touring stage production of Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation. This time around, Badham, who has acted infrequently in the decades since her indelible performance in the classic movie, will portray Scout’s mean-as-a-snake drug-addicted racist neighbor Miss. Dubose.
Badham’s surprise casting was announced today by producers, who unveiled the complete cast of the play’s first national tour. The tour, which stars the previously announced Richard Thomas as Atticus Finch, launches March 27 in Buffalo, before moving on to Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati and other cities.
The Broadway production of Sorkin’s adaptation is currently on hiatus and is scheduled to reopen with Greg Kinnear as Atticus on June 1. Jeff Daniels originated the role when Mockingbird opened in 2018 and returned when the production re-opened (at the Shubert Theatre) following the pandemic shutdown. Producers decided to pause production at the height of the Omicron surge in mid-January, and then announced plans to reopen at the smaller Belasco Theatre this summer.
On Broadway, the role of Miss. Dubose, which Badham will play on tour, was originated by the late Phyllis Somerville. The character was played by Ruth White in the film version.
In addition to Badham and Thomas (who rose to fame on The Waltons and has appeared on Broadway multiple times in various roles), the tour will feature Melanie Moore as Scout Finch, Jacqueline Williams as Calpurnia, Justin Mark as Jem Finch, Yaegel T. Welch as Tom Robinson and Steven Lee Johnson as Dill Harris. They are joined by Joey Collins as Bob Ewell, Richard Poe as Judge Taylor, Luke Smith as Horace Gilmer, Arianna Gayle Stucki as Mayella Ewell, David Christopher Wells as Sheriff Heck Tate, Anthony Natale as Link Deas, Liv Rooth as Miss Stephanie, and Travis Johns as Mr. Cunningham.
After her Oscar-nominated performance as Scout, opposite Gregory Peck as Atticus, in Robert Mulligan’s classic film, Badham, now 69, performed occasionally in film (This Property is Condemned) and on TV (most notably in a Twilight Zone episode about a mysterious swimming pool). In the ensuring decades, she’s held a number of occupations, including nursing assistant.
In a New York Times profile of Badham today, Mockingbird director Bartlett Sher said of her casting, “She has not been on a stage, and that was a big adjustment for her, but she’s going to be great — she has a bright, blazing intelligence, and good listening and sharp delivery and all the things you need as a great actor. And it was incredibly fascinating — I have never had an experience quite like it, to have this voice from the cultural history of the very work we were doing, and to see how we’ve changed and how she’s changed. It was beautiful to have her in the room.”
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