Bartlett Sher ’81 has come a long way since his college days on Mount Saint James. And Sher ’81, an English major who wrote and produced his first full-length play at Holy Cross, credits the liberal arts education he received at the College with propelling him to a successful career in the arts.
“When you work in the arts it’s very similar to the work you might do as a Jesuit, you ask a lot of questions. It’s a way of applying what you’re learning into active, real things,” Sher ’81 said at a Fitton, Fenwick, Cornerstone Dinner in New York City recently, an alumni event celebrating members of the lifetime giving societies at Holy Cross.
And quite the career that is. He has been nominated for eight Tony awards, winning in 2008 for his direction on the Broadway revival of “South Pacific.”
But it’s his latest production, the new stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-winning 1960 novel “To Kill A Mockingbird,” that has everyone buzzing. Written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Sher ’81 and starring Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch, the play, dubbed “a certifiable smash” by Variety and “exquisite” by Broadway World, has become one of the greatest stage successes on Broadway, grossing a massive $1.702 million in its second week of performances.
And much of that success is credited to Sher’ 81, the “hottest director on Broadway right now,” according to CBS News. In a feature interview for 60 Minutes he talks about the challenges that come with the much-anticipated production of a famous novel.
“The challenge is expectations,” said Sher ’81. “The challenge is swimming into the national memory between people who have a deep memory of the book, people who love the film, and people who are going to come into a theater and see it now, how to connect all of those different perspectives.”
“The man responsible for lifting Sorkin’s words off the page and onto the stage is Bart Sher, maybe the hottest director on Broadway right now. Sher creates the machine that operates the play and is the company’s conductor, choreographer and coach.” – CBS News 60 Minutes
“Mockingbird was perhaps always destined to be a hit. In addition to Sorkin, it’s got a glut of top-tier talent behind it, namely director Bartlett Sher, star Jeff Daniels, and producer Scott Rudin.” – Forbes
“‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a certifiable smash and has become one of the greatest stage successes of this or any Broadway season.” – Variety
“Mr. Sher has made sure that every movement, every perfectly cast face, every stage picture and costume tells the story so precisely that it would do so even without words.” – The New York Times
“Against all odds, writer Aaron Sorkin and director Bartlett Sher have succeeded in crafting a stage-worthy adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic American novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ The large and very fine cast perform their parts with all their hearts, under Sher’s impeccably fine-tuned direction.” – Variety
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