Aaron Sorkin’s stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird will not return to Broadway despite news that it would return in June following a winter “hiatus” in January.
According to Showbiz 411‘s Scott Friedman, who was first to report the news, the Broadway show’s failure to relaunch after a difficult Omicron winter run is the result of a decision made by former producer Scott Rudin, who still maintains the rights to the show. According to an anonymous source who spoke to Friedman, Rudin “has never gone away,” despite “a long negotiation to turn the production over to other producers.”
In emails obtained by The New York Times from Sorkin and the play’s director, Bartlett Sher, cast and crew were informed of the show’s permanent closure on Thursday, with both pointing to Rudin as the source of the decision.
“At the last moment, Scott reinserted himself as producer and for reasons which are, frankly, incomprehensible to us both, he stopped the play from reopening,” the email reportedly said.
Sher and Sorkin both continued that they were “heartbroken” and mourned “the loss of all the jobs — onstage, backstage, and front of house — that just disappeared.”
According to Sorkin and Sher, Rudin said his decision to pull the plug on the show “has to do with my lack of confidence in the climate for plays next winter” and that he “not believe that a remount of Mockingbird would have been competitive in the marketplace.”
“It’s too risky and the downside is too great,” Rudin allegedly wrote. “I’m sorry you’re disappointed. It’s the right decision for the long life of the show.”
To Kill a Mockingbird was among the shows that reopened on Broadway after its 18-month pandemic shutdown. After raising curtains again in October 2021 with star Jeff Daniels returning to play Atticus Finch, Greg Kinnear later stepped into the role ahead of its winter closure on Jan. 16, which was thought to be temporary.
It was also among the Broadway shows Rudin reportedly stepped back from after The Hollywood Reporter published allegations of abuse made by former Rudin staffers.
The show originally opened on Broadway in 2018, becoming an instant hit. This year, it launched a U.S. touring production and opened on the West End. Both the touring and London shows are unaffected, according to the Times.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to the production for comment.