Students to see Broadway's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' free at Madison Square Garden

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- In the shadow of the legends of sport comes a landmark in the history of show business -- the first Broadway production ever to play at Madison Square Garden.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" has grossed more than $100 million and counting, but now, students from all five boroughs will see it for free.

"We all know it's a classic, but to see it performed live is an opportunity that many of these 18,000 students would never have dreamed of," New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said.

The play is based by a landmark book published 60 years ago, and "To Kill a Mockingbird" is still required reading in schools because of its timeless plea for tolerance.

Ed Harris stars as lawyer Atticus Finch, and I asked him why this story has stood the test of time?

"It's about people trying to do the right thing in an environment where the right thing isn't particularly cared for," he said.

His character must defend a black man, Tom Robinson, falsely accused of rape.

"You have something that happened in the 1930s and still happens now," says Kyle Scatliffe, who plays Robinson. "(Students) can learn how to confront that, how to confront that kind of injustice, that racial injustice in the world."

Besides its worthy message, the hope is this unique event will serve as an introduction to live theater for the young people.

"For one performance only, we've re-staged the entire play so it works in this arena in the round," playwright Aaron Sorkin said. "We have no idea if it's going to work or not. We're all going to find out together."

The show is scheduled for Wednesday, February 26, at 1:30 p.m.

Producer Scott Rudin has already made tickets to the play available to students for as little as $10, but the free show raises the bar for all of Broadway. And Carranza hopes it will be the first of many such big shows.

* Get Eyewitness News Delivered
* More New York City news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.