‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Won’t Return to Broadway


“To Kill a Mockingbird,” author Aaron Sorkin’s critically acclaimed stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s 1960 novel, isn’t returning to Broadway after all. Amid a wave of coronavirus infections on Broadway last winter and the departure of Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch on Jan. 2, The show was suspended on January 16 with the intention of resuming later this year. The most recent plan is to reopen on November 2 at the Music Box Theater in New York.

But late Thursday, Sorkin and the show’s director, Bartlett Sher, wrote a letter to cast and crew saying they were “heartbroken” to announce the announcement despite months of planning , but the show will not return. They accused producer Scott Rudin, who still owns the rights to the show, for blocking a rerun, according to Sorkin and Shell.

“Bart and I, along with our agents and attorneys, tried everything we could think of to overcome obstacles and get the game back on its feet. We couldn’t,” Sorkin wrote in a message obtained by The Washington Post. “[We] Mourning the loss of all jobs – on stage, backstage and front – just gone… We mourns the loss of a great show and the chance to reconvene and reconnect with this proverbial extraordinary work that changed our lives and the lives of all who come to watch. “

A resounding ‘robin’ recalls American racism then – and now

The Broadway show, which opened at the Schubert Theater in 2018, was a huge hit before the pandemic. A retelling of Lee’s beloved novel about the trial of Tom Robinson — a black man falsely accused of rape in Alabama in the 1930s — and highlights Robinson’s attorney, Atticus Finch ), the show was praised for tackling racism in a more nuanced way than its source material did. It became the highest-grossing American drama in Broadway history, grossing more than $40 million in 27 weeks and was nominated for nine Tony Awards. (Celia Keenan-Borg Awarded for playing Finch’s Girl Scouts. ) in the years since, the show went on a national tour and launched a production in London’s West End.

But more recently, the Broadway production has been hampered by controversy related to Rudin, who faces allegations of abusive behavior, as detailed in a Hollywood Reporter story last year. In response to the allegations, Rudin withdrew from his work, including To Kill a Mockingbird and The Book of Mormon. Last year, another TV series, West Side Story, produced by Rudin didn’t reopen as planned.

In their letter, Sorkin and Shell said Rudin “re-inserted” himself as a producer at the last minute. “Frankly, he blocked the replay for reasons that neither of us could understand,” they wrote. Rudin blamed financial problems for the decision, saying in an email to Sorkin and Sher that he “Lack of confidence in the atmosphere of the show next winter” and “don’t believe the rerun of ‘Mockingbird’ will be competitive in the marketplace,” according to the New York Times.

Sorkin and Sher, who have been working on the show with producer Orin Wolf, who installed after Rudin’s departure, thanked him for getting the production ready to start again. Their relationship with Rudin had soured a few months ago. In September, Sorkin told Vanity Fair that he had personally experienced “a higher level of bullying” from Rudin, but did not comment further, saying the producer “got what he deserved.”

Rudin was described as “unhinged” in The Hollywood Reporter’s story. The producer is said to have smashed a computer monitor in his assistant’s hand to draw blood – one of several so-called “tantrums” described in the article.

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ tells the truth about white people

The decision to close Broadway’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” won’t affect the national tour that came to Washington earlier this summer, or the performance at London’s Gielgud Theatre, which premiered in March.

The news comes as Lee’s original “To Kill a Mockingbird” storyline comes under scrutiny, with some schools dropping the book from curriculum, saying Atticus Finch described it as a “white savior” . In the show, Sorkin divides the narrative into three adult characters—Scott, her brother Jem, and their best friend Dill, looking back in time—and creates a more complex depiction of Finch. The Washington Post’s theater critic Peter Marks praised the show at its Broadway premiere, writing that Atticus “moved from a belief in human goodness to a more sober assessment of the limits of human decency. “.

In a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sorkin talked about how he changed the story: “In the book, you have a person who has all the answers,” he said, “while on the show, you have a person and the problem. fight.”

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