Broadway Production of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Threatens Legal Action Against Playhouses Putting on Harper Lee Tale

UPDATED: 2019/02/28 3:00PM

A theatre in Buffalo, New York is being forced to shut down its production of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The Kavinoky Theatre at D’Youville College says that it is over a licensing dispute that is closing productions of the play at theaters across the country in favor of the current Broadway production.

According to the theater’s executive director Loraine O’Donnell, “Companies, small and large, are getting these cease and desist and really we have no alternative.” The orders are coming from the Broadway producer that is tied to Harper Lee’s estate.

O’Donnell claims that she has the rights for staging the play from two years ago and it is a different version from the current Broadway production of the show.

O’Donnell insists that she checked to ensure that this wouldn’t occur. She told one news station, “When I heard about the Broadway production, again a whole different adaptation, written by Aaron Sorkin, I called the publishing company that we got the rights from and said, ‘I heard about the Broadway production. I just want to make sure we are still fine, that we still have the rights.’ They said ‘Yes, we actually have an arrangement with them. You’re all set. It’s a different adaptation. You’re fine.’ Ours was written by Christopher Sergel and it has been around for about 30 years and theaters all around the country have been doing this.”

Now, the crew is forced to strike the set of a production that the theater company spent thousands of dollars on. Their show had a cast of 19 adults and six children.