Richard Thomas in To Kill A Mockingbird in Chicago

The hit Broadway play To Kill a Mockingbird, based on the best-selling book by Harper Lee, will play Chicago's Nederlander Theatre for a limited engagement May 17-29, 2022. Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin's new play, directed by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher and based on Harper Lee's classic novel will come to Chicago as part of a multi-year national tour across North America.

Richard Thomas, an actor best known for his Emmy-winning character as John-Boy on the 1970s TV series The Waltons, will portray the iconic role of small-town lawyer Atticus Finch. The role which was immortalized by Gregory Peck's Oscar-winning 1962 film.

"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," Thomas said. "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."

"You can't play an icon, because an icon can't be played," Thomas said. "You play a person, and the beauty of what Aaron has written is that there's a person there."

Thomas believes the play is relevant to current racial justice movements. It also speaks more broadly about themes such as aspiration, belief, and parenting.

"Of course it's a play about social justice," he says. "But it's also a play about raising children. It's a play about the loss of innocence and what it means to be a parent and how you bring your children into the reality of the world with all of its failings."

He says the play depicts the loss of innocence that happens not just for Scout, Finch's daughter, but also Finch himself.

"Everybody is going through a crisis between what they think the world should be and what they find out it really is," he says.

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, 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; and a mysterious neighbor, the reclusive Arthur "Boo" Radley. The other indelible residents of Maycomb, Alabama, are Bob Ewell, Tom Robinson, Prosecutor Horace Gilmer, Judge Taylor, and Mayella Ewell.

To Kill a Mockingbird is Broadway's highest-grossing American play. The play began its performances at the Shubert Theatre on November 1, 2018. It was sold out until Broadway shutdown in March 2020. To Kill a Mockingbird was the first Broadway play to be performed at New York's Madison Square Garden in front of 18,000 New York City public school students, marking the largest attendance at a single performance of a play ever in theater. On October 5, 2021, the production resumed its performances and ended its run at Shubert Theatre on January 16, 2022. To Kill a Mockingbird will resume Broadway performances with Greg Kinnear playing Atticus Finch at the Belasco Theatre on June 1, 2022. Rafe Spall will star in a production that will be debuting in London's West End, at the Gielgud Theatre, on March 10, 2022.

Tickets are now on sale for To Kill A Mockingbird.