Thomas Ouellette, Director

Orlando Shakespeare Theatre

“The secret ingredient in Orlando Shakespeare’s recipe is the staging of Thomas Ouellette, which is exceptional in every way. For openers, Mr. Ouellette has made sure that his cast does nothing to remind you of the now-iconic performances seen in Robert Mulligan’s 1962 film version. Instead of “doing” Gregory Peck, Warren Kelley…finds within himself the power to rise to the occasion of defending a black man falsely accused of rape—and it works. Kennedy Joy Foristall’s strident, bratty Scout is similarly idiosyncratic, and the other characters are no less sharply drawn. The dramatic tension in each scene is unobtrusively screwed up to the highest possible pitch….

But when you put “To Kill a Mockingbird” onstage in a production as completely involving and persuasive as this one, even the most casehardened cynic will surely be tempted to suppose, if only for a couple of happy hours, that the world might just be that simple—and hopeful.”The Wall Street Journal

I think my heart broke a little during Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s resonant and relevant production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Not because of anything flashy done by Thomas Ouellette, whose straightforward direction has a pleasing light touch… Or maybe Ouellette’s direct approach is the reason for my surge of emotion. He must have considered the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the protests over the death of Eric Garner at the hands of New York City police, and then realized he didn’t need to gussy up the play based on Harper Lee’s classic novel. Its themes of justice and racism and conscience and compassion speak for themselves. – Orlando Sentinel