Producer Scott Rudin has offered to license the current Broadway production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” to community theaters who had been forced to cancel productions of the play under threat of litigation.
Productions of the 1991 adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” adapted by Christopher Sergel, have recently received cease and desist letters from Rudin’s estate, claiming that productions are not allowed to go forward while the Broadway production is running, according to media reports. Rudin has placed the blame on the contract between the estate of author Harper Lee and Dramatic Publishing, the licensor of the Sergel adaptation, which does not allow productions within 25 miles of a large city while a first-class production is running, according to the New York Times.
Now, Rudin is offering those regional productions the opportunity to perform Sorkin’s adaptation, in a rare move for a currently running Broadway show.
“As stewards of the performance rights of Aaron Sorkin’s play, it is our responsibility to enforce the agreement we made with the Harper Lee estate and to make sure that we protect the extraordinary collaborators who made this production. We have been hard at work creating what I hope might be a solution for those theater companies that have been affected by this unfortunate set of circumstances, in which rights that were not available to them were licensed to them by a third party who did not have the right to do so,” the statement reads.
“In an effort to ameliorate the hurt caused here, we are offering each of these
companies the right to perform our version of To Kill a Mockingbird, Aaron Sorkin’s
play currently running on Broadway. For these theaters, this is the version that can be offered to them, in concert with our agreement with Harper Lee. We hope they will choose to avail themselves of the opportunity.”
The affected productions include the Kavinoky Theater in Buffalo, New York, the Oklahoma Children’s Theater and The Dayton Playhouse in Dayton, Ohio, among others, according to the Times.