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'To Kill a Mockingbird': Aaron Sorkin will adapt the classic novel for Broadway

A new stage adaptation of Harper Lee's novel 'Mockingbird' will reportedly be written by Sorkin. 'Mockingbird' was adapted as an Oscar-winning film in 1962 starring Gregory Peck.

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    'To Kill a Mockingbird' stars Gregory Peck.
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Scout Finch is coming to Broadway.

“Steve Jobs” writer Aaron Sorkin is reportedly adapting Harper Lee’s classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” for the Great White Way. 

Producer Scott Rudin will produce the stage adaptation. Rudin has previously produced such stage productions as the hit musical “The Book of Mormon” and the most recent production of “A Raisin in the Sun,” which starred Denzel Washington. 

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“Mockingbird” has been adapted for the stage before, though the show has not come to Broadway. Writer Christopher Sergel brought the story to the stage and the play was staged in London, among other locations. 

The announcement of the new play follows the publication last summer of a new book by Lee titled “Go Set a Watchman.” “Watchman” was written prior to “Mockingbird” but set after “Mockingbird” and centers on an adult Scout. The book quickly became a bestseller.

The story of “Mockingbird,” which centers on young Alabama resident Scout and her experiences as her attorney father Atticus defends an African-American man accused of rape, has never left American culture, though it began making headlines again with the publication of “Watchman.”

But since the release of “Mockingbird” in 1960, the novel has continued to gain new readers, with the novel regularly assigned in schools. A film version of the story that was released in 1962 was nominated for Best Picture and earned actor Gregory Peck a Best Actor Oscar for his role as Atticus as well as a Best Supporting Actress nomination for actress Mary Badham, who portrayed Scout. 

In 2014, “Mockingbird” came in at number one in a poll by readers asked to select the most impactful works written by women. Those behind the Baileys women’s prize for fiction asked women to identify on social media a novel that influenced their lives.

“With human rights under attack the world over, the enduring appeal of Harper Lee's great tale gives hope that justice and equality might yet triumph over prejudice,” said Shami Chakrabarti, who was the head judge for the Baileys prize, according to the Guardian

Another aspect of the continuing popularity of the book lies in the novel’s protagonist, writes Eileen Battersby of the Irish Times

“She does skilfully balance vivid memory with the perception of hindsight,” Battersby writes of Lee’s depiction of Scout. “By doing so she brilliantly evokes a very real sense of childhood remembered. It is a sympathetic novel, but never a sentimental one and therein rests its appeal…. Lee, by setting ‘To Kill A Mockingbird in 1935, exposed the racism still rampant in Alabama. Few writers have succeeded in crafting as charming and as powerful a polemic.”

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