Jeff Daniels has been cast as Atticus Finch in Aaron Sorkin’s Broadway-bound adaptation Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The casting reunites The Newsroom’s Emmy-winning actor with its creator, along with Scott Rudin, who will produce the new play with Lincoln Center Theater.
To Kill a Mockingbird will be directed by Tony winner Bartlett Sher (Oslo), and begins previews November 1, with an official opening on December 13 at a theater to be announced.
The play has been in the works for at least two years, and the casting of Daniels was planned from the earliest talks, Rudin has said. More surprising, perhaps, will be the casting of adults in the iconic roles of the story’s children.
Playing Scout, for example, will be Celia Keenan-Bolger, who was Tony-nominated for her portrayal of Laura in the 2014 Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie. Will Pullen, known to TV audiences for his role of Todd in The Americans, will play Jem.
Daniels steps into a role as closely associated with one actor – Gregory Peck – as any outside A Streetcar Named Desire. Filling out the other iconic roles will be Gideon Glick (Dill), LaTanya Richardson Jackson (Calpurnia), Dakin Matthews (Judge Taylor), Stark Sands (prosecutor Horace Gilmer), Frederick Weller and Erin Wilhelmi (Bob Ewell and his daughter Mayella Ewell), and Gbenga Akinnagbe (Tom Robinson).
Also in the cast: Stephen McKinley Henderson, Phyllis Somerville and Liv Rooth.
Casting of the Boo Radley character has not been announced. The reclusive Boo was played by a young Robert Duvall in the 1962 film version.
To Kill a Mockingbird will feature scenic design by Miriam Buether, costume design by Ann Roth, lighting design by Jennifer Tipton, sound design by Scott Lehrer, and an original score by Adam Guettel. Casting is by Daniel Swee.
In a statement, Rudin said, “We just finished two full labs of Aaron’s play, both directed by Bart, and both with this entire cast. It’s an extraordinarily rare occurrence that you can build a play on the people who will ultimately be in it, but that is what we were lucky enough to do.”
Rudin’s production of Sorkin’s new play has been in the works for a couple of years, with Rudin telling The New York Times in 2016 that the play’s Atticus is most definitely the character from Mockingbird, and not the racist of Lee’s posthumously published “sequel” Go Set A Watchman.
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