To Kill a Mockingbird (2018 play)

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To Kill a Mockingbird
Written byAaron Sorkin
Date premieredDecember 13, 2018 (2018-12-13)
Place premieredShubert Theatre, New York
SettingMaycomb, Alabama

To Kill a Mockingbird is a 2018 play based on the 1960 novel of the same name by Harper Lee, adapted for stage by Aaron Sorkin. It opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre on December 13, 2018. The show has a National tour expected to begin in mid-2020. The play is set to transfer to London's West End at the Gielgud Theatre in 2020.[1]

Production history[edit]

It was announced in February 2016 that Aaron Sorkin would bring the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to Broadway, in a new production produced by Scott Rudin and directed by Bartlett Sher.[2] The book had previously been adapted for the stage but Rudin specified that this production would be completely unrelated to the prior pieces.

On February 15, 2018, it was announced that Jeff Daniels would star in the production as Atticus Finch. Celia Keenan-Bolger and Will Pullen were also announced to play Scout and Jem Finch, respectively.[3] In March 2018, the Harper Lee estate filed a lawsuit against the play's production company based on allegations that the play deviates too much from the novel;[4] Sorkin had previously admitted that "As far as Atticus and his virtue goes, this is a different take on Mockingbird than Harper Lee's or Horton Foote's."[5] The following month, producer Scott Rudin countersued for breach of contract. The legal dispute was settled by May 2018.[6]

The production began previews at the Shubert Theatre on November 1, 2018, prior to an official opening on December 13, 2018. During the week ending on December 23, 2018, the production grossed over $1.5 million, breaking the record for box office grosses for a non-musical play in a theater owned by The Shubert Organization.[7]

Legal threats by Rudin against licensed productions of Sergel adaptation[edit]

Before Aaron Sorkin adapted To Kill a Mockingbird for the theatre, a different adaptation of the novel by playwright Christopher Sergel had been available for license for over 50 years. Claiming worldwide exclusivity for the professional stage rights to any adaptation of Lee's novel, lawyers acting for the company Scott Rudin formed to produce Sorkin's adaptation, Atticus Limited Liability Company (ALLC), moved to shut down productions of the Sergel adaption staged within 25 miles of any city that ALLC determined to be a major metropolitan center that might eventually host a production of Sorkin's adaptation, even if that company had already paid the rights holders.[8][9][10][11] Dozens of community and non-profit theaters across the US cancelled productions of Sergel's adaptation, as well as a professional tour planned in the UK. After a public outcry, Scott Rudin offered to 'ameliorate the hurt caused' by making Sorkin's adaptation available to regional producers[12].


Character Broadway (2018–19) Broadway (2019)
Atticus Finch Jeff Daniels Ed Harris
Scout Finch Celia Keenan-Bolger Nina Grollman
Jem Finch Will Pullen Nick Robinson
Dill Harris Gideon Glick Taylor Trensch
Bob Ewell Fred Weller Neal Huff
Tom Robinson Gbenga Akinnagbe Kyle Scatliffe
Horace Gilmer Stark Sands Manoel Felciano
Judge John Taylor Dakin Matthews M. Emmet Walsh
Mayella Ewell Erin Wilhelmi Eliza Scanlen
Link Deas Neal Huff Russell Harvard
Boo Radley Danny Wolohan Russell Harvard
Calpurnia LaTanya Richardson LisaGay Hamilton

Awards and nominations[edit]

Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2019 Tony Awards[13] Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play Jeff Daniels Nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play Gideon Glick Nominated
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play Celia Keenan-Bolger Won
Best Original Score Adam Guettel Nominated
Best Direction of a Play Bartlett Sher Nominated
Best Scenic Design of a Play Miriam Buether Nominated
Best Costume Design of a Play Ann Roth Nominated
Best Lighting Design of a Play Jennifer Tipton Nominated
Best Sound Design of a Play Scott Lehrer Nominated
Drama Desk Award[14] Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Celia Keenan-Bolger Won
Drama League Awards[15] Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play Nominated
Distinguished Performance Award Jeff Daniels Nominated
Celia Keenan-Bolger Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards[16] Outstanding New Broadway Play Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Celia Keenan-Bolger Won
Outstanding Director of a Play Bartlett Sher Nominated


  1. ^ "TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD: Harper Lee's seminal novel is set to take the West End by storm in 2020". London Box Office. 6 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Aaron Sorkin Bringing Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird to Broadway". Playbill. 10 February 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Jeff Daniels to Reunite With Aaron Sorkin for Broadway's To Kill a Mockingbird, With Celia Keenan-Bolger, Gideon Glick, and More". Playbill. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  4. ^ Alter, Alexandra; Paulson, Michael (March 14, 2018). "Harper Lee's Estate Sues Over Broadway Version of 'Mockingbird'". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Kyle Buchanan (September 13, 2017). "How Aaron Sorkin's To Kill a Mockingbird Will Surprise You". New York.
  6. ^ Disis, Jill (May 10, 2018). "Aaron Sorkin's 'To Kill A Mockingbird' adaptation cleared for Broadway". CNN.
  7. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Grosses Analysis: 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Breaks 118-Year Broadway Box Office Record" Playbill, December 26, 2018
  8. ^ Evans, Greg. " 'To Kill a Mockingbird' UK Tour Cancelled" deadline, January 22, 2019
  9. ^ Means, Sean."The Grand cancels its production of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Salt Lake Community College over a legal battle with a Broadway mogul" Salt Lake Tribune, February 20, 2019
  10. ^ Peterson, Chris. "Issue Over Two Different Mockingbird Scripts" onstageblog, February 25, 2019
  11. ^ Leighton, Paul. "'Mockingbird' killed in Marblehead" Salem News, February 25, 2019
  12. ^ Press, Associated (2019-03-02). "To Kill a Mockingbird producer says small theaters can use Sorkin script". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-01-16.
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ McPhee, Rysn (April 25, 2019). "Nominations for the 2019 Drama Desk Awards Announced; Oklahoma!, Tootsie, Rags Parkland Lead the Pack". Playbill. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  15. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (2019-04-17). "Nominations Announced for 85th Annual Drama League Awards". Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  16. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (2019-04-23). "Hadestown, Tootsie & Oklahoma! Lead 2019 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations". Retrieved 2019-04-23.

External links[edit]