‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Opens at Benedum Center (Tues., 4/19/22)
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Aaron Sorkin, from Harper Lee’s novel. Touring company at Benedum Center. April 19 – 24.
The acclaimed (and controversial) new stage version of To Kill a Mockingbird visits Pittsburgh in its national touring production. This play, by Aaron Sorkin, departs significantly from Harper Lee’s novel as well from the Gregory Peck movie and the pre-existing play you might’ve seen. The story is still about a Black man dubiously accused of raping a white woman in 1930s Alabama. But in Sorkin’s script, everything unfolds around the courtroom trial, with the rest of the story told in flashbacks. Defense lawyer Atticus Finch becomes a more complex character, not just a paragon of virtue, while major Black characters—defendant Tom Robinson and Finch’s housemaid, Calpurnia—are given greater voice and presence. The new Mockingbird provided plenty of work for real-life lawyers before opening on Broadway in 2018. Harper Lee’s estate sued, claiming the script altered the original tale too much. Also, in a bizarre move that created havoc nationwide, the new play’s producers threatened legal action against theater companies staging the previous adaptation by writer Christopher Sergel. The legal wrangling was a drama in itself and you can read elsewhere how things finally shook out. To Kill a Mockingbird arrives via the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series, with Richard Thomas as Atticus Finch. 7:30 p.m. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District.