Saturday, May 18, 2024

Broadway: To Save a “Mockingbird,” Media Mogul Barry Diller Brings Back Jeff Daniels As Star and Without Producer Scott Rudin


The first of Scott Rudin’s Broadway shows is coming back without him as producer.

Media mogul Barry Diller, who financed the original production with David Geffen, is bringing back Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” adapted by Aaron Sorkin, to Broadway in October.

Diller returns with the original stars, Jeff Daniels and Celia Keenan-Bolger, and without Rudin, who was expelled from the theater community for severely awful behavior. Orin Wolf, who has a string of productions under his belt, is going to run the show.

Producers say “Mockingbird” has made $125 million since it began in November 2018, but that’s because tickets during Daniels’ run skyrocketed up to huge prices. When Daniels left and beloved actor Ed Harris came in, the numbers went down.

Diller had to bring back Daniels to save the show. In November 2019 I reported that “Mockingbird” had fallen considerably at the box office. By the beginning of March 2020, before the pandemic closure, “Mockingbird” had lots of empty seats.  The return of the play, which Sorkin adapted from Harper Lee’s famous novel, is officially open ended, but my guess is when Daniels gets a movie or TV series, they’ll wrap it for good this time rather than bring in a replacement.

As for Rudin, no one says what’s happened to his staff including producer Eli Bush, who was in lock step with Rudin for years.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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