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Harper Lee Founds Nonprofit to Keep To Kill a Mockingbird Play Running in Hometown

Mockingbird Company will produce the play beginning next year.

Gregory Peck in the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird.

The Monroe County Museum Board recently received news that they would no longer be able to produce their long-running play version of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird because the play's publishing company, Dramatic Publishing Co., would stop allowing them the rights. But this weekend, it was announced that Lee herself would step in to save her hometown's beloved production.

Lee has founded a nonprofit called the Mockingbird Company that will produce the play, beginning next year. To Kill a Mockingbird will continue to be performed by the amateur company Mockingbird Players, who are now acting in their 26th season.

"We believe that this is the best way (from the stage) to celebrate Ms. Lee's masterpiece throughout the greater Monroeville area," said Dramatic Publishing Co. in a statement on its Facebook page.

The play runs at the old Monroe County courthouse in Monroeville, the town that inspired Mockingbird's Maycomb.

It was recently announced that Lee's second novel — Go Set a Watchman, a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird — would be published this summer, 55 years after her masterpiece first hit bookshelves. For a list of 7 classic shows that TheaterMania hopes are "prequels" like To Kill a Mockingbird, click here.