I don’t take calling for boycotts lightly. I don’t think they should be thrown out casually because if they are effective, they can have a lasting impact on everyone involved. While they target those at the top, they immediately impact those at the bottom. I’m well aware of that which is why this has weighed on me greatly.
But after seeing the behavior of Scott Rudin and his representatives over the past month, and seeing the way they have threatened community theatres across the country, I’m fed up.
For those of you who don’t know, Rudin is actively sending out cease and desist notices to any theatre that is set to produce To Kill a Mockingbird even though it’s a completely different script than the Broadway version and was licensed by a completely different company. That means local theatre companies, who properly paid for the licensing rights through Dramatic Publishing are being forced to shut down their productions because Scott Rudin claims to have title rights on the show. Keep in mind this has not been confirmed or denied by Harper Lee’s estate.
These letters have been sent out to theatres just as they are about to start rehearsals and for some, right before they were to open.
I would have less of a problem with this if Rudin tried to prevent future productions taking place. However, his aggressive actions against theatres who have already acquired licensing is boorish. Threatening a small community theatre with hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages when they have done nothing wrong, is nothing short of bullying.
If a theatre was consciously stealing creative license, that would be one thing. This is something else entirely. This is wrong. This isn’t how the business of Broadway should work. And it needs to stop.
So as of today, I am calling for a boycott of not only the Broadway production of To Kill a Mockingbird but all of upcoming and current productions involving Scott Rudin. That includes the upcoming Hilary and Clinton, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, King Lear, The Ferryman and The Book of Mormon.
I am calling for this boycott until Mr. Rudin and his representatives cease trying to shut down productions of To Kill a Mockingbird that have already paid their licensing. If they want to restrict rights to the show for future dates, fine - work that out with Dramatic Publishing. But allow these other performances to go on. Prohibiting others to perform this piece goes against everything the novel is about in the first place.
While I’m fairly positive my calls will be ignored and Rudin will continue to wield his sword of self-virtue, I’m hoping it does change the minds of potential ticket buyers.
But for those of you who are preparing to see a Broadway performance of To Kill a Mockingbird, please take a moment to think of Curtain Call Theatre in Braintree, MA, The Grand Theatre in Salt Lake City, Mugford Street Players in Marblehead, MA, the Kavinoky Theatre in Buffalo, NY, the Dayton Playhouse in Dayton, OH, and all the other community theatres who can’t because of one producer’s selfishness.