Atticus Finch famously once said that it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. But is it a sin to kill To Kill a Mockingbird? Apparently not to Scott Rudin. As Showbiz411 first reported, the adaptation written by Aaron Sorkin won’t be returning to Broadway. And according to emails obtained by the New York Times, Rudin is the reason why. “At the last moment, Scott reinserted himself as producer and for reasons which are, frankly, incomprehensible to us both, he stopped the play from opening,” Sorkin and director Bartlett Sher reportedly wrote in a July 28 email to the play’s cast and crew. The pair added that they were “heartbroken” about the imminent loss of jobs onstage, backstage, and in the front of the house. To Kill a Mockingbird, which first opened on Broadway in 2018, was a pre-pandemic hit that regularly made around $2 million in weekly ticket sales. Rudin owns the rights to the stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel, but stepped away from an active role in the production in 2021 after many of his former employees came forward to accuse him of workplace abuse and harassment. In the wake of the allegations, Rudin also resigned from the Broadway League and said he would step back from film projects.
The Broadway return of To Kill a Mockingbird, already rescheduled once, was most recently set for November 2 at the Music Box Theater. Per the Times, Rudin emailed Sorkin and Sher on July 29 to explain that he decided not to bring the play back because of his “lack of confidence in the climate for plays next winter.” “I do not believe that a remount of Mockingbird would have been competitive in the marketplace,” he reportedly wrote, adding, “It’s too risky and the downside is too great. I’m sorry you’re disappointed. It’s the right decision for the long life of the show.” Could this be the start of the comeback he was supposedly plotting?