Broadway may scrap To Kill A Mock­ing­bird


The pro­duc­ers of a Broadway adap­ta­tion of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mock­ing­bird on Mon­day sued the au­thor’s es­tate say­ing the pre­miere can­not go ahead as sched­uled and the pro­duc­tion may have to be scrapped en­tirely un­less a le­gal dis­pute is set­tled soon.

To Kill a Mock­ing­bird is set to of­fi­cially open on Dec 13 with pre­views be­gin­ning on Nov 1 in New York.

But a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Lee’s es­tate sued last month claim­ing Os­car-win­ning writer of The So­cial Net­work Aaron Sorkin’s script de­vi­ates too much from the beloved 1960 novel about race re­la­tions in the De­pres­sion-era US South.

The law­suit “has ren­dered it im­pos­si­ble for the play to pre­miere as sched­uled in De­cem­ber 2018, and un­less this dis­pute is re­solved in the im­me­di­ate fu­ture, the play will be can­celed”, the court doc­u­ments filed in US District Court in Man­hat­tan said.

Rudin’s coun­ter­suit ac­cuses Lee es­tate rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Tonja Carter, of not rais­ing ob­jec­tions to the script un­til six months af­ter it was sub­mit­ted to Lee’s lit­er­ary agent in Au­gust 2017.

It also asks for dam­ages of no less than US$10 mil­lion (312 mil­lion baht) and says Carter’s law­suit has “ren­dered it

im­pos­si­ble” to raise the mil­lions in funds it says it needs be­fore the play opens.

Carter did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to mes­sages seek­ing com­ment. In her March law­suit, Carter al­leges Sorkin, the cre­ator of Emmy-win­ning TV se­ries The West Wing, added two char­ac­ters to the script and that he told trade mag­a­zine Play­bill that the book as writ­ten “doesn’t work at all” as a play.

The script also “did not present a fair de­pic­tion of 1930s small-town Alabama” by ty­ing it to to­day’s so­cial cli­mate and por­trayed pro­tag­o­nist At­ti­cus Finch as ini­tially naive to racism, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

In re­sponse, Rudin ar­gues the play is de­fined by its live stage pro­duc­tion and not its script.

It of­fered to per­form its adap­ta­tion at the court­house with full cast that stars Jeff Daniels as Finch so a judge could de­ter­mine if the play de­parted from the spirit of the novel.

Rudin, who paid $150,000 for the stage rights to the novel, is a ma­jor Broadway and Hol­ly­wood pro­ducer, hav­ing won an Os­car and mul­ti­ple Tony Awards.

Lee died in 2016 at age 89.

To Kill A Mock­ing­bird was met with high praise on its pub­li­ca­tion, win­ning the Pulitzer Prize and earn­ing Gre­gory Peck an Academy Award for best ac­tor in an ac­claimed 1962 screen adap­ta­tion.

A per­for­mance of To Kill A Mock­ing­bird in Harper Lee’s home­town of Mon­roeville, Alabama.

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