Aaron Sorkin’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Abruptly Cancels Return to Broadway, Blaming Producer Scott Rudin

Aaron Sorkin’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Abruptly Cancels Return to Broadway, Blaming Producer Scott Rudin

Aaron Sorkin’s stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s beloved coming-of-age novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” will not return to Broadway as previously announced.

A spokesperson for the production declined to comment on the cancellation. Diversity, The hasty cancellation was first reported by entertainment news outlet Showbiz 411.

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The stage play, which opened on Broadway in 2018, made its final performance at the Schubert Theater on January 16. At the time, it was reported that the show would reopen at the Belasco Theater in June. The date was later moved to November 2, with the planned venue being converted to the Music Box Theatre. According to a report in the New York Times, now the drama will stop completely.

In an email sent by the Times to the show’s cast and crew on Thursday night, playwright Sorkin and director Bartlett Sher blamed the decision on the show’s original lead producer, Scott Rudin. Sorkin and Sher reportedly wrote in the email that Rudin, who withdrew from an active role on the show last year, broke up following allegations of his abusive behavior toward employees, “reimagining himself as producer.” And for reasons that are clearly incomprehensible to both of us, he stopped the play from reopening.”

The Times also obtained an email that Rudin sent to Sorkin and Sher on Friday, with producers crediting their decision to concerns about the show’s profitability should it reopen later this year.

“The reason I chose not to bring back ‘TKAM’ is because of a lack of confidence in the atmosphere for next winter’s plays,” Rudin said in an email. “I don’t believe a remount of ‘Mockingbird’ would have been competitive in the market.”

When “To Kill a Mockingbird” premiered in 2018, it was an immediate financial hit, raking in an average of $2 million in ticket sales in one week and recouping its investment in 19 weeks. It also received largely positive reviews and was nominated for nine awards in tons of 2019, with Celia Keenan-Bolger winning for her role as Scout Finch. Rudin’s lawyers ended up at the center of controversy after she shut down dozens of community and nonprofit productions of a separate adaptation of the novel by playwright Christopher Sergel, which premiered in 1991, for which the producer eventually apologized.

When the play resumed performances last October, after Broadway closed in March 2020, original star Jeff Daniels returned to the role of Atticus Finch, and the show continued to sell well. However, after Daniels left Jan. 2 amid declining Broadway sales amid the pandemic, earnings for the show dropped significantly.

A production of the play opened on London’s West End this March, starring Rafe Spall and Gwyneth Keyworth as Atticus and Scout. In addition, a national US tour begins in Boston this April. Both productions will remain open as Broadway productions shutter.

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