The "To Kill a Mockingbird" production is set for the stage after a treacherous pair of lawsuits were dismissed on May 10. Hollywood screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has adapted Harper Lee's classic novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird" for Broadway, along with Barlett Sher as director, and Scott Rudin co-producing with Lincoln Center Theater. Harper Lee's modern American classic has produced more than 50 million copies in print in over 40 languages since it's publication in 1960. It also received the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was adapted into a film in 1962, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.

Deviations in the script led to lawsuits

Before Harper Lee's death back in 2016, she had agreed to allow Mr. Sorkin to adapt her famous novel for the stage. In March of this year, the Lee estate filed a suit after receiving a draft of Mr. Sorkin's script, based on the opinion that it deviated too much from the novel. Most of the complaints were concerning the characters of Atticus, Jem, Scout, and the housekeeper, who apparently received a much larger role in the script. Sorkin did, however, speak to New York Magazine before a script was sent out, where he said that his adaptation would "speak to today's climate." This was brought up against the playwright by the Lee estate as part of the lawsuit.

In April, Scott Rudin filed a countersuit in New York City, stating that the issue could result in the play being canceled, seeking up to $10 million in damages. According to an article from the New York Times, Mr. Rudin argues that they should have known that a well-known playwright, like Aaron Sorkin, would have wanted to make the play unique in a way that is both respectable and true to Lee's novel, but also his own.

'Mockingbird' is set to debut after both cases request dismissal

The news was received with overdue anticipation for the play's debut when it was announced on May 10 that both cases have requested a dismissal in federal court. Both cases issued a statement saying they had settled, but no details were given. It is still unknown whether Scott Rudin has agreed to make the changes, or if the Lee estate was no longer demanding them.

Either way, "Mockingbird" is set to begin rehearsals in September, with Hollywood actor Jeff Daniels playing the leading role of Atticus Finch. Previews will start in November, and the show is set to open in December at the Shubert Theater. It certainly will be exciting to see such a masterpiece come to life before our eyes.