Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiJoining Pelosi, Hoyer says lawmakers should be free to trade stocks Budowsky: To Dems: Run against the do-nothing GOP, Senate Momentum builds to prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday hailed the new Broadway play "To Kill a Mockingbird" as a call for decency.

“In this play, we learn something so important: decency. In our country right now there’s a craving for decency, and this play is about that," Pelosi said at an event at the Library of Congress hosted by the Educational Theatre Association.


Pelosi was joined at the event by the new play's star-studded cast, including actor Jeff Daniels, as well as playwright Aaron Sorkin, who brought the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel to the stage.

"It’s about everything that Aaron Sorkin has done," Pelosi added. "If you look at his repertoire, it’s all about decency.

"We are all inspired by his beloved characters he has forged who honor our most cherished institutions from the free press to the presidency to the ordinary people who do extraordinary things to serve our country,” she added.

At the event, held to celebrate Theatre in Schools Month, attendees also honored a Nebraska high school student, Brannon Evans, who was awarded a $10,000 scholarship for winning Thespian Democracyworks, an essay contest run by the Educational Theatre Association.

The cast, joined by Evans, performed an abbreviated version of the play. Daniels stars as lawyer Atticus Finch, who is defending a black man, Tom Robinson, wrongly accused of raping a white woman.

The event also comes as the cast prepares to take the play on a tour across the nation.

Sorkin said his stage adaptation is not meant to be a strict retelling of the classic original novel.

“This is not an exercise in nostalgia, it’s not a trip to a museum, it's not a homage to something we loved way back when," said Sorkin." It’s a new play ... The circumstances are all the same, but it takes a new look at the circumstances."

He said he hopes audiences everywhere will revisit the story in a new light.

“For people who are familiar with 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' which is most people, this takes a whole new look at it. I think they’ll recall conversations they had in eighth or ninth-grade English and think 'jeez, we never saw it that way.'"

Sorkin said he thought the play was as important now as ever.

"As far as D.C. goes, the play’s themes of decency, what it means to be a person, what could be more relevant today,” the famed screenwriter asked.

Pelosi said the event was a testament to the power of the arts.

“I do believe that the arts are the most unifying force in America," she said. "It all has the power to make us laugh together, to make us cry together, to forget our differences, to bond together in the spirit of creativity.

"So in that spirit, there’s something that the arts can teach us, that is very hard to convey in other ways,” Pelosi added.

Updated on April 3 at 12:48 p.m.