Harry Potter can be a play. Spongebob can be a play. Carole King can be a play. It actually even makes a little more sense for the newest, just announced, surprise-it-can-be-a-play play to be a play: To Kill a Mockingbird will be a play. Especially because it’s already been a play, adapted by Christopher Sergel, in the past. The big news is, rather, that this new version will be adapted by Aaron Sorkin.
The New York Times reports that the Steve Jobs/The Social Network/The West Wing writer is adapting Harper Lee’s novel for a Broadway performance that’ll run during the 2017-2018 season. Famed producer Scott Rudin is also behind this project, having acquired the stage adaptation rights. Though Rudin is known predominantly as a film producer (having worked with Sorkin on Steve Jobs), he’s done a good deal of theater, and this high stakes theatrical undertaking will follow his revival of The Crucible.
Sorkin spoke with the Times over the telephone about the project, telling them:
To Kill a Mockingbird…lives a little bit differently in everybody’s imagination in the way a great novel ought to, and then along I come. I’m not the equal of Harper Lee. No one is.
Indeed, it especially lives a little differently now that Harper Lee’s recently released “sequel”-of-sorts, Go Set a Watchman — in which Atticus Finch is an old racist — complicated many people’s imaginations and understandings of the original novel. To that end, Rudin said of the adaptation:
The Atticus we do is going to be the Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird [rather than Go Set a Watchman]. He’s one of the greatest characters ever created in American literature.
The play will be directed by very multiple Tony Award nominee (and winner for his 2008 production of South Pacific), Bartlett Sher.