To Kill A Mockingbird is recognized as a literary masterpiece, and for good reason. Harper Lee’s narrative still includes elements that are relevant to this day, and her characters are rich in personality.
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Adaptations of masterpieces such as these is no easy task. Not only is adapting the book for the stage quite difficult, but playing the role of these characters requires an intense amount of time to perfect. In 1962, To Kill A Mockingbird was adapted into a movie, with Gregory Peck taking on the role of Atticus Finch. His performance was received extremely well, as he won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
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However, performances like that don’t just happen out of nowhere. It has to be a part of you; in a way it must be innate.
On December 13th, 2018, in the Shubert Theater, To Kill A Mockingbird on Broadway premiered, adapted by Aaron Sorkin. It has received great reviews, as the New York Times described it as “gorgeously atmospheric”. It has also been nominated for nine Tony awards, including Best Original Score, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play.
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Playing the lead role of Atticus Finch in this adaptation is Emmy Award winner Jeff Daniels. While most famous for his role in Dumb and Dumber for playing Harry, Daniels is no stranger to more serious roles, such as his part in HBO’s The Newsroom as Will McAvoy.
“That’s one of the things we worked hard on with this play, was I want you to feel it.” Daniels said in an interview with WBUR-FM on playing Atticus Finch. “I want you to get hit with it. I want you to walk out changed”.
Sam Waterston, most famous for his role in Law and Order, had a lot of praise for Daniels’ performance. “Gifts need to be taken careful care of, they need nourishment to grow and get stronger. Jeff provided all that.” he said in a Deadline article. “That’s how we get to feel we’re in the actual presence of a giant, a national myth, Atticus Finch, a true icon”.
Catch To Kill A Mockingbird on Broadway this summer. According to New York Stage Review, “Jeff Daniels is perfect, and that’s that”. It seems like this adaptation is going to be hard to miss.
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