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  • Writer's pictureHarvey Brownstone

To Kill a Mockingbird: Unfinished Business

The feedback from my recent interview with Tom Santopietro about his wonderful book, "Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters" has been overwhelmingly positive. That being said, several viewers expressed disappointment that I neglected to ask Tom what he thought about the iconic book having been turned into a Broadway play.

I confess: I had every intention of asking Tom that question, and then forgot to ask it. I think the fact that Broadway has been shut down for over a year, contributed to my memory lapse regarding the Broadway play version of "To Kill a Mockingbird".

I decided to contact Tom, beg his forgiveness for forgetting to ask the question, and ask him to provide a written response that I could post in my blog. Here is his response, which he has graciously allowed me to reproduce:

"I'm glad that Harper Lee's American classic is being seen on Broadway, and while certain elements have been changed, the basics remain in place. Aaron Sorkin is a terrific writer and he is bringing his vision to the piece:

Calpurnia's role has been enlarged and her interactions with Atticus are now laced with anger and frustration.

There are interesting directorial touches: The jury at Tom Robinson's trial is represented by twelve empty chairs, and Scout and Jem are played by adult actors.

The production plays differently, of course, depending on who is playing Atticus Finch. Thus far on Broadway it has been Jeff Daniels and Ed Harris; Greg Kinnear was scheduled to take over before Covid shut things down. The Atticus I'm interested in seeing is Richard Thomas who will be headlining the national tour. He is a terrific actor and very nice man, whom I think has Atticus like qualities.

Most audiences love the show- of course not everyone loves it because that's the nature of theatre. I'm sure there are also people who don't like Hamilton! It has been a huge hit on Broadway, generating the kind of business that only musicals, not straight plays, usually do. It received 10 Tony Award nominations, winning one for the actress (Celia Keenan Bolger) playing Scout.

There was much commentary at the time that the play was not nominated for Best Play; I don't think that was an insult to Aaron Sorkin but rather, the fact that when all is said and done, To Kill a Mockingbird is still thought of, and always will be, as Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird."

Thank you Tom for sharing your views about the Broadway play with our viewers.


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