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To Kill a Mockingbird Will Not Return to Broadway as Previously Announced

Lead producer Scott Rudin made the decision not to return over the objections of playwright Aaron Sorkin and director Bartlett Sher.

Stark Sands, Frederick Weller, and Erin Wilhelmi appeared in the Broadway run of To Kill a Mockingbird.
(© Julieta Cervantes)

Aaron Sorkin's blockbuster stage adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird will not be returning to Broadway, as previously reported. Multiple accounts attribute the final decision to lead producer Scott Rudin, who still seems to be taking an active role in the production despite talk of a "step back" in his role as a Broadway impresario.

When To Kill a Mockingbird ended its run at the Shubert Theatre on January 16, it was couched as a hiatus until June 1, when the production was to resume performances at the Belasco Theatre. That date came and went, with the Belasco's previous tenant, Girl From the North Country, returning to play a special awards-season engagement through June 19.

According to e-mails obtained by the New York Times, the most recent plan was to reopen Mockingbird at the Music Box Theatre on November 2, but Rudin scrapped that idea in a note to playwright Aaron Sorkin and director Bartlett Sher last Friday. Rudin attributed his decision to the hostile economic environment for plays on Broadway in the winter. Sorkin and Sher expressed their disappointment in a separate e-mail to collaborators.

To Kill a Mockingbird regularly broke box office records at the Shubert and has been hailed as the "most successful American play in Broadway history." It recouped its $7.5 million initial investment just 19 weeks after opening.

The coming-of-age/courtroom drama continues to play to audiences around the country in a national tour starring Richard Thomas. On the Philadelphia leg of the tour, TheaterMania critic Cameron Kelsall opined, "while this Mockingbird flew back into the public consciousness just four years ago, its message now seems both antiquated and simplistic." You can read his full review here.

Showbiz411 broke this story, with further details provided by the Times.