Cast and crew from the abandoned To Kill a Mockingbird tour have pleaded with the Broadway producer who forced the show’s cancellation to allow it to be resurrected.
A letter signed by the 26-strong cast – which includes actors as young as nine – urges Scott Rudin to reconsider the recent legal threats that forced the show’s British producers to cancel its entire tour just weeks before it was due to begin.
The plug was pulled on the four-month UK and Ireland tour last week, after Rudin, the producer of the current Broadway version, asserted he had worldwide exclusivity to the stage rights for Harper Lee’s novel and planned to transfer his show to the UK.
According to Jonathan Church Productions, Curve and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – the UK tour’s producers – Rudin had threatened to commence legal proceedings against them and all presenting venues unless the show was cancelled immediately.
Now, the actors and rehearsal team have pleaded with Rudin to change his mind and “give back the play” to them and to the theatres “that might otherwise well be dark”.
The letter, published in the Times, states they had introduced nine children to “the process of putting on a play… how to listen and how to look after each other”.
“And we have tried to help them to understand how cruel the world can be. In short, we have lived the book that we would share with audiences. At 5pm on Monday, that stopped.
“In a world still struggling with racial injustice, we would be able to share and spread this story, were he to change his mind. We would not be taking away from his audience but adding to it. We appeal to Mr Rudin to let us finish. Theatres would be able to take down signs saying “show cancelled” and put up ones saying “with thanks to Scott Rudin”. We would all gain,” they add.
It is understood that a number of the child actors involved in the show wrote separate letters to the Times, begging Rudin to reconsider.