To Kill a Mockingbird is leaving Broadway and heading towards… Madison Square Garden. Aaron Sorkin’s beautiful play and adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel will stage a performance at the iconic arena. Why? To perform for free in front of 18,000 school children.
It’s a special, one-night only performance. Across New York’s five boroughs, 18,000 public middle and high school students will attend the incredible show. Rarely will they get a field trip this incredibly cool and unforgettable. Lucky kids.
Already the play provided discounted tickets and performances to students, but it’s still a hot and not easy ticket to get. The goal is for kids of all ages to experience the story live. Hopefully, it leaves an impression. It’s certainly powerful enough to do so.
How it Was Accomplished
The play is produced by mega-producer Scott Rudin, whose persona is almost as famous as his Oscar-winning movies like The Social Network. Rudin and producer Barry Diller teamed up with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza, and James L. Dolan, CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company. They’re putting together the historic show, in addition to the hard-working theater crew.
In a statement, Carranza called it a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience for students:
“This is an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and will undoubtedly have an indelible impact on our students for years to come. In New York City, we’re making record investments in arts education, and we thank the producers, artists, and everyone at Madison Square Garden for their incredible generosity in bringing the arts to life for our school communities.”
The kids will get to see every child’s favorite actor, Mr. Ed Harris (Pollock), in the role of Atticus Finch. Initially, Jeff Daniels did wonders with the iconic role, but after he left the production, Harris stepped in. Both are remarkable and so often express strength and compassion so convincingly on-screen. They’re both perfect for the role.
The Mass Success
To Kill a Mockingbird was and still is the talk of Broadway. The play destroyed box-office records. It’s made over $100 million at the Broadway box-office. In a single week, To Kill a Mockingbird became the highest single-week grossing play in Broadway history, too, making $1.7 million. That high figure is usually made by musicals in larger theaters. The success of To Kill a Mockingbird can’t be oversung. Even Scott Rudin couldn’t believe it:
“I’ve never had, or seen, a new play perform like this one is. We’ve had plenty of shows break plenty of records, but nothing we’ve ever had has been like this. The company of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ has been together for quite a long time already, through numerous labs, readings, and a very healthy preview period. The success of this play — and the huge affection shown for it thus far — belongs entirely to them. It’s their hit.”
Don’t Miss It
It’s an incredible play. Those kids are lucky to experience it, especially in such an epic setting. Think Harper Lee ever thought her words would be spoken in the Garden? That’s every writer’s dream, right? Probably not, but what an accomplishment for Lee, Sorkin, and all involved. The whole play is just stunning, radiating off the stage with urgency, emotion, and humanity. No matter how many times we’ve read or seen To Kill a Mockingbird, Sorkin managed to make the story feel new again. As if the audience is experiencing the story for the first time in their lives, even though they know the heartbreaking tale inside out.
The Upcoming Tour
To Kill a Mockingbird won’t stay in New York City. Starting in May, production will begin in London. Then in August, a national tour will begin, likely hitting major cities such as Los Angeles and Washington D.C. Tickets will be hard to come by and in-demand but worth it. The cheapest tickets available are standing room, and as someone who paid for one to see To Kill a Mockingbird, it’s worth the back pain. It’s that good.