“To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee’s classic, beloved 1960 novel, arrived on Broadway last night in a controversial adaptation by Aaron Sorkin, and the consensus of the professional critics is that Sorkin has delivered a show worth seeing.
Playbill tracks reviews of Broadway shows, and says that so far there have been 18 reviews of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Of those, quick scoring by TVWeek notes that only three of the critics gave the show a thumbs down. The rest liked it to varying degrees.
The influential New York Times, in a positive review by Jesse Green, said the show was “beautiful, elegiac.”
Chris Jones of the New York Daily News said this stage version of “To Kill a Mockingbird “pulses with relevancy.” Newsday’s Elizabeth Vincentelli wrote that the show is a “refreshingly old fashioned yarn” but it misses the book’s “idiosyncratic tone.”
All of the reviews mentioned that this was Sorkin’s take on the classic book and that he had modernized it somewhat for today’s audiences.
Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal was not pleased with Sorkin’s adaptation, calling the play a “grotesque caricature of Lee’s novel.”
Elizabeth Bradley of Broadway News was another nay-sayer, noting that the adaptation was “not fully and satisfyingly realized.”
On the other hand, Matt Windman of amNY opined that the play was an “engrossing, provocative and uniformly well-acted adaptation.”
Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times called the show “provocatively fresh.”
Former New York Times critic Jeremy Gerard, now with Theater News Online, said the play was a “very good, not great show.”
The Guardian’s critic, Alexis Soloski, called the play version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” “superbly entertaining and handsomely acted.”