'To Kill a Mockingbird' is coming to Broadway, adapted by Aaron Sorkin

The last time anyone checked, Atticus Finch wasn't a hyper-verbal, precociously talented tech-head with a massive emotional chip on his shoulder. Nonetheless, the upright, plain-spoken hero of "To Kill a Mockingbird" will get the Aaron Sorkin treatment in a new stage adaptation of the novel coming to Broadway.

Scott Rudin, the film and theater producer, has acquired the Broadway rights to the Harper Lee novel and has enlisted Sorkin, with whom he collaborated on "The Social Network" and "Steve Jobs," to write the new play.

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The announcement, which organizers made Wednesday morning, would mark the first time that an authorized version of "Mockingbird" would appear on Broadway. No casting information has been announced for the production, which will be directed by Bartlett Sher and open in the 2017-18 season.

This won't be the first time that the beloved literary classic has been turned into a play. A previous stage adaptation of "Mockingbird" exists by playwright Christopher Sergel. The version opened in 1991 at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey and has been seen in regional theaters around the country. 

Sorkin began his career in the theater, making an early splash with "A Few Good Men," and segued into film and television. His scripts are notable for their loquacious and arrogantly intelligent characters who engage in rapid-fire dialogue, often while walking down long corridors.

He will follow in the footsteps of another playwright, Horton Foote, who adapted the novel for the screen in 1962. Foote won an Academy Award for his work on the movie, which starred Gregory Peck as Atticus. 

Rudin told the New York Times that the new version of "Mockingbird" will feature new scenes and dialogue only alluded to in the original novel.

The announcement of "Mockingbird" on Broadway comes a year after the controversial publication of Lee's "Go Set a Watchman," a sort of follow-up to the classic novel. The publication met with strong criticism from some who argued that it was an early draft and did not meet the standards of the original book.

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT

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