How Richard Thomas aims to redefine Atticus as ‘Mockingbird’ comes to L.A.
Atticus Finch is back! A new Broadway musical is about the Southern genteel attorney who championed racial inequality during the 1950s and ’60s.
Richard Thomas, who directed the Tony award-winning 2008 revival of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” has been tapped to direct “Atticus: A Mockingbird” at Playhouse 99, opening Thursday.
“I want to take the musical to places it’s never been before,” says Thomas, a longtime theater director and one-time star of Broadway’s “The Drowsy Chaperone.” “I’m going to be taking Atticus and Atticus Jr. (his son, Atticus Jr. is also a playwright) to New York and to Chicago and to L.A.”
Thomas will cast himself in the lead role of Atticus Finch from the Tony Award-winning play. “Atticus” is currently on the road and will play Los Angeles and then Boston before a New York engagement in late October. In April, Thomas was named Best Director.
The new musical, which is loosely based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning 1962 novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” was co-created by Lee and “Dia de los Muertos” playwright Jose Rivera. Michael Grandage and Andrew Lippa will adapt Rivera’s script.
The production will star Jason Alexander, Amy Nealy and Daniela Vega, Thomas’ frequent collaborator on the stage and screen, and also feature a book by Thomas himself, songs by Jon Batiste, music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Michael Torrey and an original score by Rivera and Gershwin.
“There’s something incredibly moving about having a play about