Dayton Playhouse considers ‘Mockingbird’ compromise after New York opening forces cancelation

ajc.com

UPDATE @11:30 a.m. (March 4): Dayton Playhouse, Inc. is considering the new To Kill a Mockingbird script, said board chair Matt Lindsay.

The board is awaiting details on the compromise offer from producers of the new Broadway production.

No decision has been made at this time, he said.

A compromise is now on the table for the Dayton Playhouse, Inc. and theaters across the country that had to shut down planned performances of the play “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

“When we broke it to the cast, there were some who who angry, there were some who were upset, there were some who were resigned,” said board chair Matt Lindsay.

The Dayton Playhouse had to cancel performances that were set for March 8-17 after getting a letter from a lawyer for the new Broadway version of the play.

The letter threatened a lawsuit against the non-profit and all the actors if the show went on as planned.

Other theaters across the country also got a similar threat.

Now, the Broadway producer says these theaters can put on their performances if they use the new version, which isn’t the version the Playhouse rehearsed.

News Center 7 has reached out to the Playhouse to find out whether it plans to rehearse and perform the new version.

FIRST REPORT @ 8:57 p.m. (Feb. 25):

The Dayton Playhouse, Inc. board on Monday announced the cancellation of the March 8-17 production of “To Kill a Mockingbird”

The move is due to circumstances beyond the organization’s control, board chairman Matt Lindsay said in a prepared statement released tonight.

“DPI did everything correctly to acquire the rights to the Sergel adaptation of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” Lindsay said in the statement.

>> Montgomery County Animal Resource Center launches new website

Such rights were secured and paid for properly, 14 months ago, he said.

However, he said, the opening of the new production in New York has changed the business landscape and appears to have rendered DPI’s rights no longer valid.

DPI’s board, in partnership with legal counsel, “have thoroughly explored avenues to overcome these obstacles and present our production, but under threat of substantial legal action from Rudinplay the decision was made to cancel the production.”

Rudinplay holds the rights to the new production currently running on Broadway, also inspired by Harper Lee’s 1960 novel. DPI’s board determined that DPI is not in a position to risk an expensive legal battle that could threaten the corporation’s future viability.

“We are in complete shock,” Lindsay said in the statement.

“I and the whole Board of Directors are devastated by this situation. I feel terrible for our artists, on stage and backstage, who poured their hearts into making something beautiful and meaningful, only to have it ended so suddenly.” The cast and crew have been hard at work on the production for weeks.

The Dayton Playhouse box office will be reaching out to purchasers of tickets to offer alternatives -- including tickets to another show, tax donation or a refund.

DPI holds itself to a high standard of quality and professionalism. Ticket holders are asked not to reach out to the box office. DPI will contact patrons in the next weeks.

“The DPI board sincerely hopes this will not tarnish the theatre’s relationship with any of its patrons, who we value deeply,” Lindsay said in the statement.

“We are disappointed to be unable to present this beautiful play to our audiences. We will work tirelessly to retain their trust and patronage.”

We will update this developing report as warranted. Stay with whio.com for breaking news.