To Kill a Mockingbird - coming to Broadway. Will it work today?

See link here: 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Is Coming to Broadway | Fortune

Aaron Sorkin has been tapped by producer Scott Rudin, who recently acquired the rights.

We’ve already had Atticus cast in a different light via the publication of Go Set a Watchman*. I know a play version of TKaM exists and has been used at schools for decades which conforms to the book. No clue of Sorkin’s “agenda” - i.e., how he may want to put his own fingerprints on the story. His voice comes through in all of his work.

Also, can a new version maintain Tom Robinson and Calpurnia as side characters? Can Atticus remain the sole richly-layered persona of Character in a modern production?

*IMHO, Go Set a Watchman’s publication was the result of Nelle Harper Lee being taken advantage of by her lawyer after the death of her (Lee’s) sister, who had been protective.

Sigh. Reported for forum change to Cafe Society.

Thread relocated to Cafe Society from IMHO.

Thank you!

It’s been a stage play for many years. It’s very often performed in old courthouses, including- until recently- the one in Monroeville which was the basis for Maycomb. (Harper Lee is essentially a quasi sentient shell at this point and her horrible new literary estate manager repealed the rights to produce the play there, which has been a major fundraiser for local charities for many years.) Like the movie it concentrates mainly on the rape trial which was a third of the book if that, but the characterizations are intact.

I would love to see Sorkin make it a miniseries instead and restore the sideplots and vignettes and supporting characters cut from the initial movie.

And in some ways GO SET A WATCHMAN would be better suited for today, but it would have to be the right writer to adapt it. It’s actually one of the best books ever on the complexities and nuances of Southern systemic racism- it works BECAUSE Atticus isn’t a bad person yet has such backwards ideas- but it could be easily mangled. (The Ghosts of Segregation Past hangs over the house of every family that has loved ones who lived through it, and there’s a large “Don’t ask/don’t tell” factor about that era; while my own parents neither burned crosses or marched with MLK, nor would they likely have associated with those who did either, I’m pretty sure their views would have embarrassed even them when revisited.)

Fortunately for Sorkin, no one seems to care.

It might be different if we thought Lee wanted us to think of him differently. But even if you ignore the circumstances of its release, it comes across as an early draft rather than an active attempt to update the character and make a statement about even people who fought for what’s right can be racist.

Very interesting. I have chosen not to read GSaW based on what I had heard about Atticus and quality of writing. I had not heard that his racist qualities are portrayed that way. Sounds Archie Bunker-like - holds abhorrent beliefs but you recognize his Humanity.

Yes, that could have the potential to work better today, so there are flaws.

Do you feel better now ? :slight_smile:

It is probably more realistic than To Kill a Mockingbird, and therefore not as interesting, but by G-d, the woman can write!

Updating this thread:

It wasn’t worth creating a new thread for this topic, so I thought I’d revive this 6 year old zombie.

I just saw a touring company version of Aaron Sorkin’s TKaM (starring Richard “John-Boy” Thomas)…and I have some notes.

Hoo boy.

I’m a huge fan of Aaron Sorkin. I think The West Wing is among the best shows ever to appear on TV. But jeez, he made a hash out of a beloved film. (I can’t say how it compares to the book – I may have read it in high school but have no particular memories of it.)

He removes all the gravitas from Atticus Finch. Adds humor (some of which works, some doesn’t), mostly through the voices of the 3 children. Pads the story unnecessarily – the play runs about 2.5 hours – by beefing up Calpurnia, making her a foil for Atticus. Give Dill more back story. Creates a character – and gives him a soliloquy and a tragic back story – just to explain why Tom Robinson lost the use of his left arm.

The dialog is maybe 75% Sorkin, 25% Lee/movie.

He’s fixated on the “Bob Ewell fell on his knife” line, making it the opening lines of the play and coming back to it repeatedly. But then garbles the denouement so much that my wife asked “So who did kill Bob Ewell??”

Speaking of Bob Ewell…in the mouth of this barely-literate 1930’s redneck he puts the words “Hebraic” and “condescension”. He works very hard to get the phrase “passive-aggressive” into his dialog, which sounds completely out of place for the setting.

And he cut the scene “Stand up…your father’s passing.”