MONROEVILLE, Ala. (AP) - “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee has started a nonprofit company that will produce a play about the book, ending a dispute that threatened to derail the long-running performance, a publishing group said Saturday.
Dramatic Publishing Co. had refused to extend the performance rights for the production in Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, but the Illinois-based publishing company said Saturday on its Facebook page that Lee has founded a new, nonprofit group called the Mockingbird Company. The organization will produce the play beginning next year.
“We are also happy to announce that the play will be performed by Mockingbird Players, who have acted this American classic so well for so long,” the statement said. “We believe that this is the best way (from the stage) to celebrate Ms. Lee’s masterpiece throughout the greater Monroeville area.”
The Monroe County Heritage Museum has staged the play for years, but it has been involved in legal disputes with Lee in the past.
Lee sued the museum in 2013 over “Mockingbird” souvenirs sold in its store after the museum opposed her application for a federal trademark for the title of her book. The dispute has since been settled.
The play is currently in its 26th season in Monroeville, which was the template for the fictional Maycomb in Lee’s book. The performances this month and next are sold out; excitement over the upcoming publication of Lee’s second book, “Go Set a Watchman,” helped tickets sell out faster than normal.
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