Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.

Harper Lee

Five Great Flicks For Father’s Day 


Father’s Day is coming up, and besides the obligatory gifts of ties, coffee mugs, and socks consider watching one of the following movies with dear old dad.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)  The film adaption of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning work starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Mary Badham as his daughter Scout in what is possibly the most adorable father-daughter pairing ever on screen. It also features Robert Duvall in a legendary turn as Boo Radley. To Kill a Mockingbird deals with fatherhood, race, prejudice, the limits of the legal system, and more.  It won three Academy Awards including Best Actor for Peck, was nominated for eight more including Best Picture and is nearly universally considered one of the best films of all time.

Paper Moon (1973) This American comedy-drama directed by Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show) starred real life father-daughter pair Ryan and Tatum O’Neal as Moze and Addie.  Moze is a shady grafter who takes on the nine year old Addie (who may or may not be his biological daughter) as his mascot/sidekick/protégé on a madcap road trip through plains country during the Great Depression.  Filmed in black and white it was nominated for several Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay and Tatum O’Neal won for Best Supporting Actress making her the youngest performer to ever win an competitive Oscar.

Field of Dreams (1989) Phil Alden wrote and directed this fantasy drama starring Kevin Costner as novice farmer Ray who becomes convinced that he’s supposed to turn his corn fields into a baseball diamond.  The movies ostensible focus is on letting Shoeless Joe Jackson (among others) play ball again but the not so hidden underlying theme is Ray repairing his relationship with his own now deceased father.  Co-starring Amy Madigan, Burt Lancaster, James Earl Jones, and Ray Liotta, Field of Dreams was nominated for three Academy Awards and “If You Build It, He Will Come,” is now part of the cultural lexicon.

Finding Nemo (2003)  The Pixar Blockbuster about how Marlin (Al Brooks) the clownfish sets off on a voyage through Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to find his lost son Nemo encountering Dory (Ellen Degeneres) a regal blue-tang who suffers from short term memory loss, sharks trying to kick the fish eating habit, and surfer dude turtles was an instant classic that won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and was nominated in three other categories including Best Original Screenplay. It also inspired a long-gestating sequel Finding Dory that opened on June 17, 2016.

The Descendants (2011) Alexander Payne (Sideways, Nebraska) directed this film adaption of the novel by the same name. George Clooney stars as land baron Matt King whose wife Elizabeth is in a coma and then learns from his elder daughter Alex (Shailene Woodley in her breakout role) that Elizabeth had an affair. Matt’s emotional journey is momentous and important decisions are made but the movie’s ultimate focus is on Matt’s struggle to form a stronger bond with his daughters. The Descendants won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay as well as two Golden Globe Awards including Best Picture-Drama and Best Actor-Drama for Clooney.

Top photo: Bigstock

To Kill a Mockingbird at Little Theatre of Alexandria


Gregory Peck would be proud of Atticus, Scout, and the rest of the cast in Little Theatre of Alexandria’s recent production of To Kill a Mockingbird. This classic tale never gets old, and is very timely considering the recent passing of author Harper Lee. And the struggle between black and white, while tempered, still exists in modern society, and there are lessons to be learned in this timeless piece.

Producers Rachel Alberts, Bobbie Herbst and Robert Kraus have nailed it, not an easy feat with those who still fondly remember the black and white film. The two scenes – Finch’s street in Maycomb, Alabama to the courthouse where the trial is held – benefit from terrific staging.

Atticus’s daughter, Jean Louise Finch, nicknamed Scout, is played by two actresses who turn in winning performances. Olivia McMahon portrays the young Scout who lived through what transpired in 1935 when Atticus defended a black man who was tried for raping a white woman. The adult Jean Louise, played by Melissa Dunlap, takes on the role of narrator.


Richard Fiske (Atticus) and Olivia McMahon (Scout)

Finch, played by Richard Fiske, describes himself as a ‘recovering attorney,’ although one with much yet to prove. Whether at home  with Scout and Jem, or in the courtroom, Fiske’s Finch is believable, a loving father and a skilled lawyer.

Horace Gilmer (Cal Whitehorse), is a worthy adversary for Atticus. As Judge Taylor, Tony Gilbert rules over his courtroom, keeping everybody in check, especially Bob Ewell (Paul Donahoe), a loose cannon as a witness.


Brenda Parker (Calpurnia), Olivia McMahon (Scout), and Frank Riley III (Rev. Sykes)

The younger actors, McMahon, Jack Kearney (Jem Finch) and Nathaniel Burkhead (Dill), exhibit impressive onstage presence. Brenda Parker, who plays Calpurnia, the Finch’s housekeeper, is tasked with keeping the children in line and does it with love and humor.

The cast numbers more than 30 actors giving a touch of realism to the scenes where the courtroom’s seats would be filled with townspeople caught up in a case that both captivated and polarized a community.

Photos by Matt Liptak

Opening: Courtroom scene with cast.

To Kill a Mockingbird runs through May 14, 2016 at the Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. For more information, visit www.littletheatre.com or call the Box Office at 703-683-0496.