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Jeff Miller as Atticus Finch and Caroline Toal as Scout in a scene from To Kill a Mockingbird at Young People’s Theatre, Oct. 6 through Nov. 2.

Jan Borkowski

Beloved by generations of readers, banned by many a small-minded school board, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird remains one of the most cherished and controversial coming-of-age novels. Undaunted by the book's incendiary subject matter – racism and rape – Young People's Theatre in Toronto is opening its 49th season with a stage adaptation for audiences ages 11 and up (through Nov. 2). And so far it's the fans, not the detractors, who've been responding – the show has had so many ticket requests from adults that YPT has added four evening performances on top of its daytime schedule. The truth is that Lee's story of ignorance and prejudice in pre-civil-rights-era Alabama, told from the perspective of a little girl, is one of the great lessons in tolerance. And, in the character of brave but gentle small-town lawyer Atticus Finch, it contains one of literature's most admirable father figures– played by an Oscar-winning Gregory Peck in the 1962 film. YPT's production, directed by Allen MacInnis and using Christopher Sergel's venerable adaptation, stars Jeff Miller as Atticus and He leads a cast of 13 that also includes Caroline Toal as Scout. , Noah Spitzer as Jem, Matthew G. Brown as Tom Robinson and Mark Crawford as Boo Radley.

To Kill a Mockingbird runs to Nov. 2 at Young People's Theatre, Toronto.

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