To Kill A Mockingbird, Aaron Sorkin’s hit stage adaptation of the Harper Lee novel currently on a lengthy Covid-prompted hiatus, will not return to Broadway after all, and both Sorkin and director Bartlett Sher are blaming the original lead producer Scott Rudin.
According to emails obtained by The New York Times, Sorkin and Sher notified the cast and crew late yesterday about the show’s cancelation. “At the last moment, Scott reinserted himself as producer and for reasons which are, frankly, incomprehensible to us both, he stopped the play from reopening,” Sorkin and Sher wrote, according to The Times.
Rudin, of course, is the Broadway and Hollywood producer who ostensibly stepped away from all of his productions, including Mockingbird, following allegations of bullying and physical abuse of his staff.
Rudin, according to an email obtained by The Times, informed Sorkin and Sher that his decision “not to bring back TKAM has to do with my lack of confidence in the climate for plays next winter.”
Rudin continued, “I do not believe that a remount of Mockingbird would have been competitive in the marketplace.”
Although Rudin was believed to have discontinued taking an active role in the play’s production, he continues to control rights to the stage adaptation.
Mockingbird opened on Broadway in 2018 and quickly became one of theater’s hottest tickets, recouping the $7.5 million investment costs after just 19 weeks. A national tour starring Richard Thomas as Atticus Finch launched in April, as did a West End production a month earlier. Those productions reportedly will not be impacted by the Broadway closing.
The Broadway production resumed performances in October 2021 following the 2020 Covid shutdown. Original star Jeff Daniels returned to his role as Atticus in an effort to effectively re-launch the production, leaving the production for good in January, by which time Mockingbird, and other Broadway shows, were being hit hard at the box office by an upsurge in Covid cases.
Mockingbird, then starring Greg Kinnear as Atticus, went on what was intended to be a temporary hiatus on January 16, vacating the Shubert Theatre but vowing to return to the Belasco this summer. When that didn’t happen, the production was expected to restart at the Music Box Theater in November.
In the emails obtained by The Times, Sher and Sorkin told cast and crew they were “heartbroken” by the latest and said they “mourn the loss of all the jobs — onstage, backstage, and front of house — that just disappeared.”
Rudin, in his email to Sorkin and Sher, said, “It’s too risky and the downside is too great. I’m sorry you’re disappointed. It’s the right decision for the long life of the show.”
New of the production’s cancelation was originally reported by the website Roger Friedman’s Showbiz 411.
Deadline has reached out to the production for comment.
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