Price helps make 'Mockingbird' a hit

Published 4:08 pm Wednesday, May 21, 2003

By By LYDIA GRIMES – Feature Writer
It is May and once again the cast of "To Kill a Mockingbird" has completed its presentation for the year in Monroeville. Saturday, May 17, was the night of the last performance for this year.
Brewton is well represented in this cast which includes Dawn Wiggins Hare, Jackie Nettles and Everette Price, who is the subject of this week's profile.
Price is well known in this area as an attorney, but during the months of March through May, he transforms himself into a thespian as he plays Atticus Finch in the play that has been adapted from the novel by Harper Lee who grew up in Monroeville.
The old courthouse in Monroeville was in disrepair in the 1980s and it came close to being demolished a couple of times. The area residents were able to get the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places and it became clear that they were on the way to getting a renovation project off the ground. A committee was formed in the mid-1980s to renovate the building to bring it back to what it once was. It took 15 years, $1,000,000 in private donations and $500,000 in federal funding before the renovations were completed in 2002. In 1991, the people involved in the renovation decided to bring "To Kill a Mockingbird" to life in the form of a play and to perform it in a courtroom setting. Many locals thought that the whole idea was a bad one, but they proceeded anyway.
That was the beginning of a very successful run. Today the play is performed each May and features local talents from Monroe, Conecuh and Escambia Counties.
Price has been a part of the play since 1994. He had been involved in plays at Jefferson Davis and played Feagin in the production of "Oliver," a musical in which he sang.
Price started singing during his high school days in Evergreen and continued to sing over the years before and after college. Hermine Downing called him when they were ready to perform "Gift of the Magi" at the college and that got him started. All the plays that he had been in up until Mockingbird were musicals.
Cathy McCoy, who is the director of Monroe County Heritage Museums, also directs "To Kill a Mockingbird," which was adapted from the book by Christopher Sergal. She told Dawn Wiggins Hare, an attorney in Monroeville, and a Brewton native, that they were looking for another person to play the part of Atticus Finch. She thought of Price and the rest, as the saying goes, "is history."
Price took over the role of Finch in 1994 and, along with another actor, plays the role every week during the month of May. They begin rehearsals in February and open the first of May. They usually run about three weeks with the two act play one of which takes place outside in a specially made set that includes small versions of characters' homes. The other act takes place inside the courtroom and it looks just as it did in days gone by including the pot-bellied stoves that once were used for heat. The play has become a big hit with locals as well as bringing people from all over the world to Monroeville. It is sold out every year as soon as the tickets are made available to the public.
Price and his fellow actors have not only played their parts in Monroeville but in 1996, they went to perform in Jerusalem, Israel.
Since that first trip the cast has also gone to the Alabama Supreme Court Justice Building in Montgomery and Kingston-upon-Hull, England in 1998.
Price was born in Evergreen, the son of a veterinarian and a school teacher. He graduated from Evergreen High School in 1960 and entered Auburn University in the fall of that year. He graduated in 1964 and went to the University of Alabama to law school. After graduation in 1965, he came back to Evergreen and practiced law for the next four years. In 1969, he came to Brewton and went into practice with a law firm. He left them in 1977 and opened his own practice which he ran until 1986 when he became the public defender in Escambia County. He was the public defender until 1992 when he went back into private practice. The practice expanded in 2002 when he brought Charles Johns into the law office.
Along the way, Price married and had three children, Allen, Kate and Blake with his first wife. He became the step-father of Kristal when he married his present wife, Donna. They enjoy two granddaughters, the daughters of Allen and Blake.
Price loves to read and his interest in history makes historical novels or nonfiction his favorites. He also loves to go to land that he owns near Castleberry.
He takes his golden retriever along with him most everywhere he goes and loves animals.
And of course he loves working with the caste of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

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