DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A local theater company was forced to cancel its production of “To Kill A Mockingbird” because of a legal threat from the Broadway production.
The Dayton Playhouse was set to premier their play next week Friday.
“It was devastating,” Dayton Playhouse Board of Directors Chairman, Matt Lindsay said. “I as chair of the board had to inform the cast that we were having to cancel the production. There were tears. There was anger in the room.”
Two weeks before the play was set to have its opening night, the company received a letter from the producers of the Broadways production: “Demanding that we not perform the production based on their belief that we’d be infringing on their copyright.”
And they’re not the only theater company who received the letter.
Lindsay continued: “We’ve heard about theatres in Buffalo, New York, up in Massachusetts, Tennessee, Utah, all having to shut down their productions for the same reason and having received, essentially, the same letter.”
The costs associated with a potential legal battle for the show to go on are just too big for the Dayton Playhouse to bear.
“Last night, we provided the cast with what would traditionally be our end-of-show cast party to try and make up for things but it’s really heartbreaking,” he said.
Actors already had their lines memorized, set and costume designers were working on the final touches, and tickets had already been sold.
“We’re figuring on about a $15,000 loss.”