amBroadway | Morisseau shuts down LA production, ‘Chicago’ cancelled due to COVID and more

‘Chicago’ on Broadway
Photo: Jeremy Daniel

Morisseau shuts down LA production amid harassment claims

A production of Dominique Morisseau’s drama “Paradise Blue” at LA’s prestigious Geffen Theatre suddenly shut down in the middle of its run amid allegations by Morisseau that Black women involved in the production had been harassed by theater staff, Morisseau explained in a lengthy Facebook post. “I gave the theatre an ultimatum. Respect the Black womxn artists working on my show, or I will pull my play,” Morisseau wrote. “I demanded that an apology happen from a creative team member for their abuses against other members of the creative team or they do not continue to work on my play. And instead of staunchly backing this, the Geffen continued to enable more abuse. That is when I say no more.”

In a statement on its website, the Geffen wrote that “an incident between members of the production was brought to our attention and we did not respond decisively in addressing it. And as a result of these missteps, some members of the production felt unsafe and not fully supported…We acknowledge having fallen short…We have apologized to everyone involved…”

“Skeleton Crew” (which, like “Paradise Blue,” is part of a trilogy of plays set in Detroit) will begin previews on Broadway on Dec. 21 with a cast that includes Phylicia Rashad and Brandon J. Dirden, with direction by Ruben Santiago-Hudson (“Lackawanna Blues”).

‘JCS’ actor arrested for January 6 involvement

James Beeks, an actor who goes by the stage name of James T. Justice and whose Broadway credits including “Kinky Boots,” “Aida,” and “Ragtime,” was arrested last week for participating in the January 6 Capitol riot. At the time of his arrest, Beeks was in the midst of playing Judas in a 50th anniversary national touring production of the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He has since been suspended from the tour. 

‘Chicago’ performances cancelled due to positive COVID tests

Performances of “Chicago” were cancelled from Saturday through Tuesday after two employees at Broadway’s Ambassador Theatre tested positive for COVID-19. As of this time, the show is slated to resume performances on Thursday. The long-running show recently celebrated its 25th anniversary on Broadway. Tickets are currently on sale through September 2022.

‘Under the Radar’ lineup revealed

The Public Theater’s annual Under the Radar Festival, which showcases new experimental works from around the globe, will return in January for three weeks of live performances. Last year, a digital edition of the festival was presented. Some of this year’s productions include “Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner” (a Royal Court Theatre production), “Our Country” (about violence and Western civilization), “Otto Frank” (inspired by Anne Frank’s father), and “Mud/Drowning” (a combination of two plays by the late María Irene Fornés with music by Philip Glass).

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