Bartlett Sher was destined to become a director. “In my grammar school I was in a production about the Nativity, I think I was some child waiting around the manger,” he recalls of his first childhood theatre experience. “I remember that I volunteered to do the lights and I put some red cellophane on those lamps and flicked them up and down at certain key moments.”
Since then, Sher has been nominated for nine Tony Awards for his direction, including a 2019 nomination for To Kill a Mockingbird.
“Mockingbird’s special because it’s kind of this extraordinary national story that we all know so well because we all read it,” he says in the video above. “It comes with its own special responsibilities because we had to do something very fresh and very meaningful to people seeing it in 2019, and that was sort of the larger task.”
The Aaron Sorkin play has been nominated for nine Tony Awards. The work marks Sher’s third consecutive nomination, having been nominated for a play, Oslo, in 2017 and a musical, My Fair Lady, in 2018.
“Personally, I’m always trying to push myself artistically to see what new places I can go and what world I can build around whatever the particular show is and I try to figure out ways to be able to paint and make stuff in the most fun way,” he says.
The director certainly pushed himself with Mockingbird, helping Sorkin to shape the memory play and creating a realm in which the three youngest characters (Scout, Dill, and Jem) transition between the children of Scout’s memory and the adults remembering the events of their Alabama-set childhood.
Hear more from Sher about his theatrical influences and unforgettable works in the video above.
Videography and video editing by Roberto Araujo.