The late author’s prized novel will be brought to life by Aaron Sorkin who is adapting the novel into a play. He will be joined by Bartlett Sher (“Oslo”) who will be directing the show, which co-produced by Scott Rudin and the Lincoln Center Theater. Sorkin’s version is being advertised as a “new play, based on” Lee’s novel.
National television and movie star — who was also the star of Sorkin’s HBO Series, “The Newsroom” — Jeff Daniels will be portraying lawyer Atticus Finch. “We never talked about anybody but Jeff, from the very first conversation Aaron and I ever had about doing this together,” Rudin told The Washington Post.
The novel, takes place in a depression-era southern town, the narrator, a girl nicknamed Scout, tells the story of a black man who has been wrongly accused of raping a white woman. Scouts father, the lawyer Finch, defends him despite threats and the scorn of many.
The play comes at an optimal time in America. Although Lee’s novel celebrates the 58th anniversary of publication this July, it’s account of racial tension and frank discussion of rape and sexuality is still relevant in the lives of those in the American South today.
The producers on Thursday identified other members of a the cast, including: Celia Keenan-Bolger (who’ll portray Scout); Stephen McKinley Henderson, Gideon Glick, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Frederick Weller, Will Pullen, Stark Sands, Dakin Matthews, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Phyllis Somerville and Liv Rooth.
Adam Guettel will compose original music for the play; Ann Roth will design the costumes, and Miriam Buether will design the set.
“We just finished two full labs of Aaron’s play, both directed by Bart, and both with this entire cast, It’s an extraordinarily rare occurrence that you can build a play on the people who will ultimately be in it…It’s a huge tribute to both Sorkin and Sher that everybody we asked to be in the production also cleared their schedules to jump into a very beefy lab process with us, especially so far in advance of the play’s production,” said Rudin.
This is the first time Lee’s novel will be adapted and performed on Broadway, which The Washington Post called “an extreme rarity these days for the nation’s most prominent theatrical platform.”
Performances will begin Nov. 1 at a theater to be announced.