Producer Scott Rudin announced today that Emmy Award-winning icon Richard Thomas, who recently celebrated a 60 year anniversary of performing on both stage and screen, will play the role of Atticus Finch in the National Tour of To Kill A Mockingbird, Aaron Sorkin’s new play, directed by Bartlett Sher, and based on Harper Lee’s classic novel. The coast-to-coast national tour of the Highest Grossing American Play in Broadway History will begin on August 25, 2020, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the heart of the nation’s capital. The tour will continue on the road for more than two years, playing virtually every state in the nation.
Having made his Broadway debut in 1958 at the age of seven in Sunrise at Campobello, and his television debut just one year later, Richard Thomas has balanced stage and screen successes for the past sixty years, becoming one of our most enduring fixtures of American popular culture in the process. Even after achieving international stardom for his Emmy Award-winning turn in the landmark decade-long television program, “The Waltons,” he amassed 13 Broadway credits, including The Little Foxes, Race, Democracy, You Can’t Take It With You and Fifth of July. He has performed the classics to wild acclaim and starred in both big screen films and more than 40 films for television. Throughout the country, Mr. Thomas most recently appeared on stage in the national company of the Tony Award-winning play, The Humans, and the acclaimed revival of Twelve Angry Men, and starred as President Jimmy Carter in the Lawrence Wright drama, Camp David, at Washington DC’s Arena Stage and San Diego’s Old Globe.
In a statement, Mr. Thomas said, “I’m thrilled to have been invited to play Atticus Finch. To be entrusted with the opportunity of bringing one of our great American stories to our great American playhouses across the country is a privilege. The play has galvanized audiences with its timeliness and its timelessness, and to join the ranks of the tremendous Jeff Daniels and Aaron Sorkin in carrying on the legacy of Harper Lee is a great honor. I’m a very happy actor and I can’t wait to get started!”
Director Bartlett Sher added, “We are incredibly fortunate that Richard Thomas has agreed to be our Atticus across America, because he is simply one of the best stage actors in America. He has the soul, kindness, and fire of idealism that the part demands, and I think audiences across the country will get an enormous gift in his Atticus.”
To Kill a Mockingbird has become the most nominated play of the season, receiving nine Tony Award nominations, including Best Actor in a Play, Best Director, Best Featured Actress in a Play, Best Featured Actor in a Play, Best Original Score, Best Scenic Design of a Play, Best Costume Design of a Play, Best Lighting Design of a Play, and Best Sound Design of a Play.
On Broadway, To Kill a Mockingbird has just broken the record as the Highest Grossing American Play in History, and also maintains the single-week record for the highest grossing American play in Broadway history. The production also holds the Shubert Organization’s box office record for the highest weekly gross of any Broadway play in the organization’s history. Since performances began on Thursday, November 1, 2018, To Kill A Mockingbird has not played to an empty seat, with 100% capacity (or greater) for every performance. The advance currently stands at more than $22 million.
Set in Alabama in 1934, Harper Lee’s enduring story of racial injustice and childhood innocence centers on one of the most venerated characters in American literature, the small-town lawyer Atticus Finch. The cast of characters includes Atticus’s daughter Scout, her brother Jem, their housekeeper and caretaker, Calpurnia, their visiting friend Dill, a mysterious neighbor, the reclusive Arthur “Boo” Radley, and the other indelible residents of Maycomb, Alabama from the novel.
Richard Thomas (Atticus Finch) last appeared on Broadway in the revival of The Little Foxes, for which he received a Tony Award nomination. He has been seen in acclaimed performances on stage including You Can’t Take It With You, Race, Democracy, Incident at Vichy (Drama Desk Award nomination), The Stendhal Syndrome (Lucille Lortel Award and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), A Naked Girl on the Appian Way, An Enemy of the People, Tiny Alice, The Front Page, The Fifth of July, innumerable Shakespeare productions, and his professional debut at 7 years old in Sunrise at Campobello on Broadway. He was last seen on national tour in the award-winning productions of The Humans (Elliot Norton Award) and Twelve Angry Men. Thomas is an Emmy Award-winning actor beloved for his performance in the iconic series “The Waltons.” He is best known to contemporary television audiences for his work in the critically renowned series “The Americans” as well as his appearances on “Billions” and the limited series “Tell Me Your Secrets.” His feature film performances include Curtis Hanson’s Wonder Boys, Tim Blake Nelson’s Anesthesia, and Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock. Thomas is also a published author who resides in New York City.