All Rise! As Harper Lee’s classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, comes to thrilling life on stage, one of the greatest courtroom drama novels ever written, is now a brand-new stage production! Join the finch family as they become embroiled in the case of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a young white woman in the small, majority white, town of Maycomb, Alabama. And as the court case winds to an end, the town itself starts to unwind, neighbor could turn on neighbor and tensions are running high, anybody could turn out to be the next fresh corpse on the road. Grab some tickets and catch all the drama yourself, only at the Buell Theatre.
Aaron Sorkin’s To Kill a Mockingbird takes you on a journey back to the Great depression, over a period of three years follow the Finch family in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. Scout Finch and her older brother, Jem, live with their widowed father Atticus a middle-aged lawyer who is appointed by the town judge to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. But when Atticus agrees to defend Tom to the best of his ability, many of Maycomb’s citizens disapprove and one night during the trial a group of men intent on lynching Tom arrive at the Finch home, but soon disperse after Scout recognizes and speaks out to a classmate’s father. As the trial draws to a close Atticus reveals that Mayella previously made sexual advances toward Tom, resulting in her being beaten by her father, but the once the jury is done, they decide to convict Tom anyway, and he is later shot dead in very suspicious circumstances.
Despite Tom’s conviction, and later shooting, Mayella’s father, Bob Ewell is humiliated by the events of the trial and vows revenge against Atticus, spitting in his face and Tom Robinson’s widow. Then one night while Scout and Jem are walking home after the school Halloween pageant, they are attacked by Bob Ewell who breaks Jem’s arm. The two kids are rescued by their reclusive neighbor, Arthur “Boo” Radley who carries Jem home, but when Sheriff Tate arrives, he discovers old Ewell dead in the road from a knife wound. While Atticus thinks that Jem was responsible, Sheriff Tate is certain it was Boo, but ultimately decides to protect Boo’s privacy and reports that Ewell simply fell on his own knife.
The play doesn’t shy away from its dark subject matter, making little attempt to hide the threat of the KKK lynch mob, or the implied sexual abuse within the Ewell family, and there is a lot of usage of (period appropriate) strong language. Strong discretion is advised for whether it’s appropriate for younger children.
Winner of the 2019 Tony Award for Best Actress in Featured Role, To Kill A Mockingbird, Aaron Sorkin’s new play based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel, is directed by Bartlett Sher. Over the course of the production the show was embroiled in two different legal disputes. The first with the Harper Lee estate over Sorkin’s depiction of Atticus departing from the original novel, and the second over licensed productions of the Christopher Sergel adaptation which were shut down as to not compete against the new Aaron Sorkin version. The show opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre on December 13, 2018, never playing to an empty seat, and becoming the most successful non-musical production in a theater owned by The Shubert Organization. The play opened in London’s West End at the Gielgud Theatre in March 2022.
The original novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee was published in 1960, becoming an instant best-seller with over 50 million copies worldwide, and winning the most prestigious of literary prizes. It inspired the Academy Award-winning film of the same name in 1962 starring Gregory Peck and is one of the foundation texts taught in many schools across the country, despite being constantly under attack by religious, civic, and parents’ groups demanding that it be removed from school libraries and classroom curriculums because of its content. Despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality, the novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, and is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America.
AN IMPECCABLY FINE TUNED ‘MOCKINGBIRD’ Review by Marilyn Stasio for Variety.
“Against all odds, writer Aaron Sorkin and director Bartlett Sher have succeeded in crafting a stage–worthy adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic American novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The ever–likable Daniels, whose casting was genius, gives a strong and searching performance as Atticus Finch, the small–town Southern lawyer who epitomizes the ideal human qualities of goodness, tolerance, and decency. Celia Keenan–Bolger, best remembered for the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee but grown up now, is smart, funny, and entirely convincing as Scout, Atticus’s precocious 6–year–old daughter and the narrator of the story. The rest of the large and very fine cast perform their parts with all their hearts, under Sher’s impeccably fine–tuned direction.”