Scott Rudin Offers Community Theaters Rights To Aaron Sorkin's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Following Cancellations
BroadwayWorld previously reported cancellations of a number of productions of the Christopher Sergel stage adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird, licensed by Dramatic Publishing, in the UK, Dayton OH, and Buffalo, amongst others across the US.
At the center of the dispute is that no production of To Kill A Mockingbird can play "within 25 miles of cities that had a population of 150,000 or more in 1960 while a 'first-class dramatic play' based on the novel is playing in New York or on tour" according to a report in The New York Times.
THR reports that the Lee estate has been in touch with Dramatic Publishing to report they have been issuing licenses in violation of this agreement.
The report also notes that Scott Rudin has reached out to community theatres where the production was cancelled to offer them the opportunity to stage the Aaron Sorkin adaptation of the play, which is currently running on Broadway, and the one they are able to grant licenses for.
In a statement to Deadline, Rudin said "As stewards of the performance rights of Aaron Sorkin's play, it is our responsibility to enforce the agreement we made with the Harper Lee estate and to make sure that we protect the extraordinary collaborators who made this production. We have been hard at work creating what I hope might be a solution for those theater companies that have been affected by this unfortunate set of circumstances, in which rights that were not available to them were licensed to them by a third party who did not have the right to do so.
In an effort to ameliorate the hurt caused here, we are offering each of these
companies the right to perform our version of To Kill A Mockingbird, Aaron Sorkin's
play currently running on Broadway. For these theaters, this is the version that can be offered to them, in concert with our agreement with Harper Lee. We hope they will choose to avail themselves of the opportunity."
Inspired by Lee's own childhood in Alabama, To Kill A Mockingbird features one of literature's towering symbols of integrity and righteousness in the character of Atticus Finch, based on Lee's own father. The character of Scout, based on herself, has come to define youthful innocence - and its inevitable loss - for generation after generation of readers around the world.
Published in 1960, Harper Lee's debut novel To Kill A Mockingbird was an immediate and astonishing success. It won the Pulitzer Prize and quickly became a global phenomenon, with more than 50 million copies in print to date. Considered one of the great classics of modern American literature, the novel has never been out of print since its original publication.
The new Broadway production is directed by Bartlett Sher, and features Aaron Sorkin's new adaptation, with scenic design by Miriam Buether, costume design by Ann Roth, lighting design by Jennifer Tipton, sound design by Scott Lehrer, and an original score by Adam Guettel.