Retelling a classic for a modern audience is a difficult feat to achieve. Many have failed and triumphed in doing so. But when the work does justice to the original piece, it becomes a significant contribution. It breathes back to consciousness the original’s value to a different generation. To Kill a Mockingbird’s modern stage adaptation is notably one of those retellings that made sure to attain such accomplishment. Through the efforts of Aaron Sorkin and his team, they delicately handled a hugely successful Harper Lee masterpiece. To the delight of the majority, they succeeded. People are blessed to live in the exact moment wherein they can witness a true to its source and, simultaneously, a unique stage play of a classic well known to everyone. It is a heartfelt and eye-opening take unraveling in front of you. If you are looking for a must-see event in Hollywood, see the show at the Pantages Theatre coming this fall.
“A ‘Mockingbird’ for our moment. Beautiful, elegiac, satisfying, even exhilarating.” – The New York Times
“Majestic and incandescent, this ‘Mockingbird’ is filled with breath and nuance and soul. This is a phenomenon.” – New York Magazine
“This is theatrical storytelling so assured and involving it’s hard to imagine anyone not being mesmerized. Sorkin has pulled off something quite remarkable by honoring Lee’s novel while remaking its events of more than 80 years ago in terms that speak directly to where we are now.” – The Hollywood Reporter
In 2016, Aaron Sorkin was tasked with bringing the Pulitzer-winning novel to the Broadway stage with producer Scott Rudin and director Bartlett Sher. In an interview with The Atlantic, Sorkin talked about how challenging creating the stage adaptation was: “When I started out [with this play], I thought it was a suicide mission, but I said yes right away ’cause I wanted to do a play so badly. My first draft was terrible because I tried to gently swaddle the book in bubble wrap and transfer it to the stage. It felt like a greatest-hits album done by a cover band—just somebody trying to imitate Harper Lee and standing up the most famous scenes from the book.”
Harper Lee never wrote a single book after the release of “To Kill a Mockingbird” until 2015, when “Go See a Watchman” was published. The latter brought out a character revelation that broke the innocent view of people in the first novel. Atticus, who was depicted as the white savior and the hero, was revealed as a racist individual. This was years after he defended Tom Robinson from a rape charge. This became one of the most challenging parts Sorkin had to work on. To do so, he highlighted the inconsistencies in Atticus. “While I wanted to explore Scout, I absolutely wanted Atticus to be a traditional protagonist, so he needed to change and have a flaw…” says Sorkin in an interview. With this mindset, he and his team worked for two years before “To Kill a Mockingbird” opened on Broadway in 2018.
The reworks in the show are evident. “From the moment the curtain goes up, we try to knock you off your pins a little bit,” Sorkin admitted. However, Scout, the 6-year-old daughter of Atticus, is still the show’s narrator. The plot’s impressive rearrangement gives the story a fascinating, one-of-a-kind take. Noteworthy in the show is the African-American characters, who are given their rightful voices, especially Tom and Calpurnia. There are fierce and powerful courtroom sequences and sad scenes, which are highlighted. This has made the show a bit similar to a courtroom TV show.
“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.” – Variety
Furthermore, well-executed sequences contrast each other, making the complex narrative easier to comprehend. The vast mix of emotional experiences, ranging from hilarious to tragic, adds flavor to the play. Overall, this play adds complexity to the classic while retaining the original work, particularly Scout’s eye-opening experiences in comprehending the harsh world. “This was no longer an exercise in nostalgia. This wasn’t a field trip to a museum. It wasn’t an homage to one of America’s favorite books. It was something new.”
Its stay on Broadway ran from December 2018 and closed in January 2022. During the 2019 Tony Awards, it gained nine nominations, of which the “Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play” award was bagged by Celia Keenan-Bolger for her role as Scout. That same year, she also won the Drama Desk Award and Outer Critic Award in the “Best Featured Actress category.”
As the Broadway production closed in 2022, its Westend counterpart opened in March 2022. Positive reception welcomed the show there, proving that its success definitely reached other countries.
The highly-anticipated To Kill A Mockingbird tour will make stops in numerous North American locations starting in August. With a stellar cast, including Richard Thomas as Atticus Finch, Melanie Moore as Scout Finch, Jacqueline Williams as Calpurnia, Justin Mark as Jim Finch, Yaegel Welch as Tom Robinson, and Steven Lee Johnson as Dill Harris. They are joined by Mary Badham, the original Scout Finch of the 1962 film. She is playing Mrs. Henry Dubose.
“Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” masterfully delivers a new look on a classic tale. There is never a dull moment in the show, and every scene and every character is an integral part of the narrative. The story artfully tackles serious, relevant questions, and the cast delivers brilliantly, making this run of the show a must-watch.” – The Harvard Crimson
The touring ensemble will perform at the magnificent Pantages Theatre at the heart of Hollywood from October 25 to November 27. Tickets can now be reserved. Click the links on this site to order tickets for the day of your choosing.