“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee won a Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and has been widely praised as a sensitive portrait of racial tension in 1930s Alabama. At its core is Atticus Finch, a lawyer called upon to defend a Black man falsely accused of raping a white woman.
Lee’s iconic book has been adapted for the stage by Aaron Sorkin, who won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for his screenplay for “The Social Network.” The play is directed by Bartlett Sher.
Keenan-Bolger said she wouldn't have entertained the notion of rejoining the show if disgraced producer Scott Rudin was still the lead producer.
During the pandemic shutdown of Broadway, the Hollywood Reporter exposed a decades-long history of Rudin’s physical and mental abuse toward his staff. In response, Rudin said he would step back from his theater work, saying he was “profoundly sorry.”
“It was enormously important to me that Scott Rudin be no part of the production, either behind the scenes or financially,” said Keenan-Bolger. “I don’t think I would have been able to join the production again if he was so attached.”
She said she found new lead producer Orin Wolf to be receptive to making sure cast and crew felt comfortable returning. Broadway is in the middle of a discussion about who gets opportunities and how the system works inequitably.
“We have a lot of work to make Broadway a better place for everyone. And there are going to be a lot of different approaches in that work. Some people are going to say, ‘I need to tap out and wait for it to get itself together and I can return when it feels safe,’” she said.
“I think my feeling is that I will engage with it and I will try to make a place as just and equitable and compassionate — that every theater project that I am a part of, I am dedicated to making those spaces as just and equitable and compassionate and anti-racist as they can be.”
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Mark Kennedy is on Twitter as KennedyTwits
FILE - In this May 1, 2019, file photo, Jeff Daniels poses for a picture at the 73rd annual Tony Awards "Meet the Nominees" press day in New York. Fans of the Broadway adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” will get a treat when the show restarts on Broadway in fall 2021, as Daniels and Celia Keenan-Bolger, two of the play's original stars, are returning. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
Credit: Charles Sykes
Credit: Charles Sykes