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Audra McDonald’s Pregnancy Is Not ‘Unexpected’

Broadway Black

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…Because she’s a woman and that’s what women do.

On yesterday the producers of Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed announced they would be closing the show after a mere three-month run. The show, which has had many sold out performances, will have only played 100 performances by the time it closes next month. A successful show closing after three months — confusing, right?

According to producer Scott Rudin, ticket sales have dropped off significantly for shows after Audra McDonald takes her “maternity leave” (which is not a real thing in the theatre world). So Scotty and the boys thought it made good business sense to go ahead and shut the entire thing down. His exact words were, “We are thrilled that she and her husband, Will Swenson, are experiencing the opportunity to expand their family- and we wish them all good things as they approach the birth of their child this fall… It has, however, become clear that the need for Audra to take a prolonged and unexpected hiatus from the show has determined the unfortunate inevitability of our running at a loss for significantly longer than the show can responsibly absorb.”

Well, f*ck you, Scott.

Listen, we were already feeling some type of way about you being a producer of this project (“We” being myself and anyone else who find people who exchange racially insensitive emails with their colleagues utterly repulsive), but we thought maybe this was your repentance. “We” were wrong. Not only were you an embarrassment early on in the run by making a stink about how this ORIGINAL MUSICAL should be categorized as a revival (boy, what?!) so that it wouldn’t have to go up against Hamilton for the Tony, you now prove that you couldn’t give two sh*ts about the production AT ALL by closing it in 3 months. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Broadway isn’t Hollywood. There are no major checks involved to begin with (unless you stumble into a Hamilton) so you may be in the wrong game from jump, playa. We get it. You and your friends put in $12 million. To the average “living from paycheck to paycheck” American citizen that is a ton of money and we understand that you don’t want to lose too much of it, but 3 months Scott?! That’s all you give this otherworldly cast?

To mount your reason for closing this gem on the shoulders of a woman simply living her life is almost as disrespectful as those emails you sent. Audra had always planned to take a break from the show to reprise her role as Billy Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill in London’s West End. You had hired her replacement, Rhiannon Giddens, who was already in rehearsals. Would this same decision have been made if this had gone as planned? Not to mention Audra canceling her West End run and giving Shuffle Along more time. She is putting other working mothers to shame out on that stage 6 times a week and this is how you throw her under the bus?!

Equal rights for women in the work place is an uphill battle. When you add on pregnancy you usually end up rolling back down that hill wild and fast. Audra McDonald’s only job security is the fact that she is “AUDRA MCDONALD”. If she were anyone else, the possibility of her returning to the show after her pregnancy probably wouldn’t have been an option.

And what about the incredible company of Shuffle Along?! Aside from the person you think the show just could not go on without, there are two other Tony winners on that stage- Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter– along with countless other Tony nominees(Joshua Henry, Brandon Victor Dixon and Adrienne Warren)! The play is written and directed by George C. Wolfe– GEORGE. C. WOLFE! And that choreography by Savion Glover?! PLEASE! It’s an embarrassment of riches. Anyone else would kill to have this cast! These overly qualified actors and actresses have been pouring their hearts and souls into this production. Telling this story has been their reason for existing for more than a year and they deserve the chance to prove themselves in the absence of ONE actress!

The original Shuffle Along that made history and changed an entire culture in 1921 was eventually forgotten, but the same will not be said for the Shuffle Along of 2016! We will remember every single soul that gave this piece life and we will honor the legacy this show leaves behind.

And it’s STILL congratulations Audra!!!

Be sure to get your tickets to Shuffle Along before it closes July 24!

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44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jennifer

    June 24, 2016 at 10:43 AM

    As a huge fan of your content, this post is a really uninformed and unfortunate sentiment from you.

    So it’s Scott Rudin’s fault that no one wanted to buy tickets to the show when Audra wasn’t in it? These decisions are based on financial reality. To say that “there are no major checks involved” here at the same breath you mention that the show cost $12 million to mount is baffling.

    As far as your headline goes, Audra herself categorized the pregnancy as unexpected when it was announced, so… you should really take a step back on this one. Instead of celebrating the incredible achievement that was this show and respectfully mourning its run being cut tragically short, you’re doing everyone involved (and yourselves) a disservice by making this about something it isn’t.

    • Avatar

      DLM

      June 24, 2016 at 11:27 AM

      Not uniformed. Not unfortunate. This speaks VOLUMES about our industry. This speaks volumes about how some producers choose to produce a “black show”.

    • Avatar

      Kei

      June 24, 2016 at 12:21 PM

      Respectfully, considering Scott said “anticipated sale loss”, it stands to mean he had no facts behind actual sales truly dropping off. People who have wanted to see the show or in general just love Audra already knew she was taking off for months to go do her play in London. She never covered up that fact, in fact, it was due to her soon to be eldest child that she decided to go in the first place as she and the West End company had made provisions so that her daughter could go with her and even though she didn’t say it, she was taking the summer off to be with her. Not to mention Audra is nothing if not utterly professional, when her father passed she only missed a total of 3 performances, I have no doubt that even with a newborn, she would have had a nurse or some type of nursery set-up in her room so that she could be with her child and still continue her passion, also her husband Will Swenson is an actor and he’s given no impression she would have been in this by herself, it seems like he would have been right there in the dressing room with the baby or with the child at home thus causing her little worry except the blues of being away from her child so fast. (Probably would’ve caused her not to stage door as much, but as a BB article has said, that’s not included in ticket price) As for Shuffle, the show had already dealt with this fact and welcomed her replacement Rhiannon who (as stated) already begun rehearsals, and as Audra did decide to go from 8 shows a week to 6 to give her body a bit of a rest, her understudy (an AMAZINGLY TALENTED woman) Darlesia Cearcy has stepped up. I was blessed to see Cearcy the night before the Tonys and although I was disappointed in the moment to learn Audra would’t be performing, as soon as Cearcy hit the stage, it was clear there was a reason she was trained to go on for Audra. Her voice? Beautiful and clear. Her dancing was effortless as was her chemistry with the rest of the fellas. Which let’s be honest, Audra may be Audra but she’s also not the only headliner on the show, there are 4 other amazing names along with her and young Tony nominee Adrienne Warren, and also an entire ensemble of about 30 young talented actors and actresses who help put the show on. For Scott to make a statement that Audra’s absence alone will “possibly” pull down the sales without even giving the rest of the cast including her replacement a chance (with her full blessing may I add) is a punk move on his part. By months end he will have made his money back and Rhiannon and the other 4 gentlemen bring their own celebrity status to the show thus ensuring ticket sales. I am aware that a Tony award winning show would have sounded better but his direct actions put them against the slated favorite. ( To get personal, not winning Best Choreography was a joke, Savion Glover should easily have that award at his desk and that’s no shade to Hamiltons choreographer).There’s a song in the show that goes “They won’t remember you” and it seems that Scott is keeping up in that tradition, but he’s not even giving this show a chance that the original show was given, it’s like he took the success to the Tony awards, is gonna reap the benefits of now a constant sold out house (because people are going to want to see the show before it’s gone) and is leaving the show like “now I’m done with you” with no concern for the other amazing members. As professionals, they can’t exactly say just how frustrated and angry they are directly to Scott, he’s a producer and they can’t do themselves a disservice in just telling him off without consequences (except maybe Audra) in the theatre world, but we fans of the show can certainly tell him what a jacka** he is for putting the entire success of the show on Audra’s shoulders and her getting pregnant and needing maternity leave as the shows “anticipated” downfall. I think we’ll all continue to celebrate the shows success, I mean there’s nothing that can be done, the show is closing and that’s that but I see no problem in the meantime with writers letting Scott know he’s done Broadway a great disservice in dropping this not only wonderful but important show, trying to pregnancy shame Audra while congratulating her and giving the other cast members little to no credit for their talent.He may be trying to wash his hands clean of the show like “it’s not my fault” but it is and it’s ok to tell him the truth…he’s wrong.

      • Avatar

        Kei

        June 24, 2016 at 5:31 PM

        Oh and when I said his own decisions Made the show go against Hamilton, I meant him making a fuss about it. The story had never been told, there was no need to utter revival vs original, that just kicked up uncessary competition. I think the shuffle along crew and cast members as well as the other musicals in the categories with Hamilton knew it was an uphill battle. Didn’t need him to argue any other case.

    • Avatar

      Alicia

      June 24, 2016 at 12:33 PM

      It is neither uninformed or unfortunate. Scott Rudin and company produce in Hollywood as well. So yes, $12 mill is something to sneeze at in comparison. Productions are given the opportunity to fail all the time. But this one is being pulled after only 3 months? And it hasn’t even ACTUALLY failed yet? Audra’s replacement is a ROCKSTAR and she wasn’t even given the chance to prove herself. Who’s to say sales wouldn’t have rebounded once she entered the production? But because the producers of this show have no connection to the story being told here, it was no big deal for them to pull the plug prematurely. To them this was all about the money. What happened is ruthless and insulting. The story is solid. The talent is stellar. There is no excuse.

      • Avatar

        Jax

        June 25, 2016 at 1:50 PM

        There is nothing sadder than a closed mind. Scott Rudin is indeed “all about money,” as any good producer must be. Otherwise he will be out of business. By closing his show when Audra leaves he will SAVE his investors the losses he would have incurred by keeping the show open while it did mediocre business.

        Your attempt to conflate this into an example of how black shows are treated on Broadway does nothing to expose racism. It merely broadens the gulf between black and white by throwing in all your poorly reasoned rhetoric. FACTS ARE FACTS: When a show, black or white, loses money, it closes.

    • Avatar

      fonofidl

      June 25, 2016 at 1:26 AM

      “No one wanted to buy tickets”? Are you serious? The box office is gigantic!

      • Avatar

        Kei

        June 25, 2016 at 3:35 AM

        Agreed, the show is always greyed out when u go to discount apps meaning u can’t get them at discounted rates nor can u get tickets at the tkts booth. I mean Lin, Leslie and Philippa are leaving Hamilton at the same time and my guess is people hadn’t suspected that…their show isn’t getting the boot. And I know Hamilton is a different animal, but the main leads are leaving…I bet that will effect their sales, yet their producers are letting them stay. It’s not fair to Shuffle.

  2. Avatar

    Marc

    June 24, 2016 at 3:33 PM

    I have money in this show as a producer. Agree with Jennifer, this post is entirely uninformed. You have absolutely no idea about how the decision making process to close the show happened.

    I see from your bio that you describe yourself as a “theatre lover”, not someone who works in the theater industry. I see from your comment that you think 12 Million is something for us producers to “sneeze at”, yet you know nothing of our producorial or theatrical backgrounds. I make an average wage in the theatre that I try to invest back into shows that I think are fantastic art. The money I put in the show was definitely nothing to “sneeze at”.

    What you do need to understand, Alicia, is that this show was a flop. Plain and simple. Although we thought we could weather the storm during Audra’s planned absence, the fact that she would be taking an indefinite absence hurt our ticket sales more than you can imagine. It’s not that Audra’s replacement “couldn’t prove herself”, or that we wouldn’t “give the show a chance to fail”. The show did fail. No one is throwing Audra under the bus. The amount of tickets that have been sold over the next months is less than the amount it takes to run the show. Simple economics.

    It was a massively tough and well-discussed decision to close the show. It is sad to me you would think otherwise, or that we had no problem “pulling the plug”, because “we had no connection to the story”. You know nothing about us or who we are!

    We all don’t make enough money to pump more into the show to keep it running. While you think 12 million is nothing to us, we were not all “in it for the money”, we were in it because we thought it was a fantastic and meaningful show that didn’t work out. Those are the simple facts.

    • Avatar

      Kei

      June 24, 2016 at 5:54 PM

      Forgive me, I’m not acquainted with theatre production financial matters but I must ask, are you honestly saying that even with the 4 other headliners and a Tony nominee (Adrienne Warren) the show was or would have been a financial flop? Why then would you allow Audra to take a hiatus in the first place? I’m aware she gave a comeback date but doesn’t that stand to prove she would have given a comeback date after her child is born? I mean these are just questions, there’s nothing that can be done now, I would just like to know. I’ve seen it happen before and maybe you can shine some light on this process. Also, perhaps you do care about the show and that’s great but we didn’t see your statement, just Scotts which honestly came off as a backhanded insult. Maybe if you had put out a statement with your feelings, we theatre lovers would still feel slighted that the show was cut but also that Audra wasn’t having the entire production on her shoulders and her leaving is causing it not to sustain. Also to say the show is a “flop, plain and simple,” is kinda rude…the show is still going on and a lot of the ensemble read these articles and that’s a bit discouraging .

      • Avatar

        Avalon Morley

        June 26, 2016 at 6:17 AM

        I think anyone involved in the show would understand that this producer is simply highlighting the simple, sad truth of the basic math that makes this show a COMMERCIAL flop, not an artistic one. With so much wishful and hopeful thinking aimed at the producers, and people asking why they don’t make it work somehow (magic wand, perhaps?), maybe it takes clear, no-nonsense terms like “flop,” to cut through the fog to the reality of the situation.

    • Avatar

      fonofidl

      June 25, 2016 at 1:23 AM

      I call BS! The show has never grossed under 900,000 per week on a potential gross of 1.1million roughly. How is that a flop? What’s your weekly nut? This is baloney!

      • Avatar

        Sister Simplice

        June 25, 2016 at 11:12 AM

        A flop is a show that does not make its money back.

        • Avatar

          fonofidl

          June 25, 2016 at 11:33 AM

          But this show hasn’t had a CHANCE to make it’s money back! Have the show’s weekly receipts ever failed to exceed operating costs? At over 900,000 per week, consistently, I can’t imagine they have, even with that stellar cast…something fishy going on there

          • Avatar

            Kei

            June 26, 2016 at 8:40 AM

            I thought the sane thibg, as he’s had a couple of shows closing suddenly. It’s coming off as a little let me make people rush to the box office to see this show, make a wonderful amount of cash and be gone…I’m not saying that IS what’s happening but the way he’s handling it and the theatre communities reaction says something seems not quite right.

    • Avatar

      fonofidl

      June 25, 2016 at 1:24 AM

      We “know nothing” of you except what the grosses reported by the League.

    • Avatar

      fonofidl

      June 25, 2016 at 1:25 AM

      flop? Seriously?

    • Avatar

      Parris Lane

      June 25, 2016 at 1:14 PM

      I am so sorry for your loss.. AND I truly understand the business.. Twelve million is a lot of money to invest in a show so I personally would not make a judgement call as such. Although I may not be famous.. I am an excellent performer and I know of many others that are out there as well who are willing and able to work. But in NYC there is a Casting Company Click.. AND.. they keep doing the same old shows over and over… I love the Theatre also and like to keep it alive as well….. But you have to have something fresh and new.. What should one do?? Re-group, pull up the sleeves, dust the knees off, and try again. But with a different flavor. And that is what Hamilton is about. So what this post has proved to me is that I also have to get back on track with writing, creating, and producing my own shows. I’ve always sold out so I’ve must’ve been doing something right.

    • Avatar

      Avalon Morley

      June 26, 2016 at 6:09 AM

      Thanks for your producing work, and for this reply. Although this show was not financially successful (and I’ll never get to see it, living far away, and having no spare money), I’m glad you all made it possible for it to play on Broadway. Sometimes, as with one of my favorite shows with one of my favorite scores, CAROLINE, OR CHANGE, a show deserves that setting and exposure, even if it can’t survive commercially. I’m grateful you and your colleagues made this possible, and completely understand the basics of such business decisions. Nobody (at least, nobody smart) ever promised that show business was easy.

      Given many of the touring show options we’re presented with in the major market where I live, I can’t help wishing there could be a tour of this show, especially with that cast (and Rhiannon Giddens replacing Miss Audra M.), but that’s a pipe dream, I know.

  3. Avatar

    Parris Lane

    June 24, 2016 at 4:19 PM

    CONGRATS AUDREY… BUT I AM AVAILABLE to take her place. http://www.parrislane.com check out the videos.. (LOL)

    • Avatar

      Kei

      June 24, 2016 at 5:23 PM

      Audra.

      • Avatar

        Parris Lane

        June 25, 2016 at 12:55 PM

        ooops… (LOL)… spell check changed it… Thanks.. Kei..

        • Avatar

          Kei

          June 26, 2016 at 9:08 AM

          No problem.

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  5. Avatar

    Eldon Smith

    June 25, 2016 at 12:03 PM

    The Truth: Rudin was a Fool to cave to Audra’s demand to do LADY DAY in
    London after only 3 months into SHUFFLE ALONG’s run. Another Truth: A
    46-year-old woman does indeed “live her life” and PLANS TO GET PREGNANT.
    Final Truth: Audra’s personal needs took precedent over her professional life.
    Fine, cancel your solo concerts, but don’t put 100+ people out of work when
    you always knew your allegiance to a Broadway show was limited. Audra’s
    career well go on – but NOT as the Star of Expensive Musicals aiming for
    long runs.

    • Avatar

      Dana

      June 25, 2016 at 2:19 PM

      Were you in the room with Scott and Audra? How do you know she demanded anything? Lady Day in the West End was more than likely in the works before Shuffle Along came along. Audra mentioned herself that they worked hard for over a year just to schedule it during the summer so her older child could be with her. Scott is a fool because he didn’t better prepare for her temporary leave. And contrary to your ‘truth’, women in their forties have babies all the time without planning it. I call them change of life babies because some women’s fertility have been known to increase right before menopause, which Audra also admitted to being near. So, life does indeed happen. Selfish would have been walking away as soon as she found out she was pregnant. Instead she has continued on with the show well into her pregnancy even though it might be taking a toll on her and her body. The only truth about your post is that you have no clue at all.

      • Avatar

        Kei

        June 26, 2016 at 8:55 AM

        Dana. Just yes.

    • Avatar

      Kei

      June 26, 2016 at 8:55 AM

      I couldn’t say this any better than Dana did so I’ll just add one more thing. Not that it’s necessary to do so but allow be to repeat Audra is the most decorated of Broadway actors as she has the awards and resume to back it up so who are you to say she won’t be the STAR of long running musicals? Because of this unexpected pregnancy which she did believe she was going through the change before it was revealed she was pregnant. Audra is a star and any show would be happy to have her whether it was a short run or long run, she’s done no damage to her career so unless your personally every director, producer, financial backer of a show and plan to have her somehow personally blacklisted, you truly don’t know what you are talking about.

  6. Avatar

    Michael Giorgio

    June 25, 2016 at 12:43 PM

    I dunno about that “flop” comment. It got great reviews and is one of maybe three productions that don’t go up on TDF every day. I can’t wait to see it in a few weeks.

    That said, I”m pretty conflicted about this whole thing. I bought tix when it first opened, opting for Sept when the pre-determined leave for Lady Day in London was advertised. I love that this show is overflowing with greats – but I gotta say, she was the reason I forked over $300 for full price seats – which I rarely do. When you’re paying that much for two hours of time, you want what’s advertised. I would have been glad to see her replacement, but the tix are for mom and I want her to see what’s been promised. For better or worse, she’s the biggest draw of this company, and she’s the reason why tix have been put over the top – obviously, since sales dropped as soon as her leave was announced. Or – maybe it’s just that the public got disappointed that they were led into buying one thing and then were offered something else? One concession was already made for her to go to London. Then she’s pregnant. Maybe the public felt that they’d had the contract changed more than they expected and lost interest.

    I”m going to go out on huge limb here, at the risk of maybe even coming off as misogynistic? But aren’t most planned pregnancies just that? forgive me if I”m being ignorant, but couldn’t she have planned this out when she wasn’t just opening in a major multimillion dollar show? Her last broadway appearance was about a year ago. This show even if it wasn’t closing for a while would have better been able to weather a change if it happened much later in the run, and just after the thing had opened.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the producers as well as George Wolfe – and maybe even everyone involved in the show who’s out of a job after mid July are just a bit miffed that the timing and planning of this was way off. Like I said, I may be grossly unaware, must couples are pretty good at planning how NOT to get pregnant. Shouldln’t the same be the case for getting that way too – all PC aside? She’s the most visible and biggest marquee draw out of all those other heavy hitters. This is a job with an expiration date, no matter how long it runs. Even Cats closed at some point. You manage your career in this industry much differently than if you’re working for Merril Lynch.

    On the other hand, aside from the fact that I feel she could have planned this better – isn’t there ANY other bankable star that could have replaced her? Her understudy probably is a killer talent. But when you’re paying hundreds of dollars, you want to know what you’re getting ahead of time. Throw Jennifer Hudson in there, and I’d still be game – or anyone else that’s a proven commodity. And yea, that’s hwat this is. I saw my first broadway show for $25!!!!! The prices are criminal – and how producers have “premium” seats. What the F is that???? You mean you have OPEN seats that you’re selling for twice the amount? I think we used to call that scalping at one time.

    Make tix under $100 and I’ll be glad to take whatever unforeseen risks there are ahead. I actually usually welcome understudies because I know they’re going to be firing on all cylinders. But at $300, I want what I paid for.

    • Avatar

      Avalon Morley

      June 26, 2016 at 5:43 AM

      I’ve got to say, I found the announced replacement for Ms. McDonald far more exciting than Jennifer Hudson (who is not the most exciting or accomplished of actresses, and of whose dance potential I’m uncertain; that said, I am a big fan of her, but somehow don’t like the idea of that particular casting). Then again, I might just be falling prey to the fascination of the newish (to me), and the extreme talent evident in Rhiannon Giddens; I have no idea if she would be any more adept at the dance element than would Ms. Hudson. But listening to her singing, and seeing pieces like this one on her, made me think they’d possibly found a great choice; it’s too bad she won’t get the chance, but maybe someone will write a great new musical for her: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFCWQHoFf2o

  7. Avatar

    MikeSJ

    June 25, 2016 at 2:19 PM

    The entire premise of this article, as stated in the headline and first sentence, is ridiculous. Here’s what Audra said when she announced the pregnancy on Twitter: “@thewillswenson & I are completely surprised.” Sounds like an unexpected pregnancy to me. But somehow Scott Rudin was supposed to expect it to happen, when the people who actually created this child didn’t expect it?

  8. Avatar

    NeoAdamite

    June 25, 2016 at 2:35 PM

    The underlying argument here is really simple: The producers are asserting that not enough people are buying tickets for the post-Audra months, and the author of this article refuses to believe them.

    So: why should be take the word of a blogger over the word of the producers?

    For what it’s worth: I’ve seen the show. I found the history very interesting, the actors are doing great work, and the choreography is *terrific*. But the music isn’t particularly engaging (Eubie Blake was no Jelly Roll Morton, let alone Duke Ellington), and plotwise all of Act 2 is a prolonged anticlimax.

    There seems one point of genuine misunderstanding, the phrase “anticipated sales.” If a performance is 90% sold four weeks in advance, it will likely be 99% sold by day-of. If a performance is 50% sold four weeks in advance…no.

  9. Avatar

    MyHumbleOpinions

    June 25, 2016 at 8:00 PM

    hu??

    *scratches head*

    freakin’ fool….

  10. Avatar

    Shawked

    June 26, 2016 at 12:34 PM

    Alicia, call me once you’ve produced a Broadway show. I’d love to talk to you. Again, only AFTER you’ve produced a show. Okay?

    • Avatar

      Kei

      June 26, 2016 at 1:49 PM

      How many have you produced? Financially backed?

      • Avatar

        Shawked

        June 26, 2016 at 2:18 PM

        Zero. I’ve produced zero. Which is why I’m NOT going on some hysterical rant about the decisions producers make. When Alicia has some producing experience, then she has platform to scream from and start throwing things all over the room. Until then, she needs to sit down and shut up.

        • Avatar

          Kei

          June 27, 2016 at 12:53 AM

          This was a “hysterical rant?” I believe she was responding to Scotts rather RUDE words. Can u honestly look at his statement in its entirety and say he wasn’t clearly putting blame on Audra’s shoulders? She was already planning on leaving, they had a rock star in preparations, if they felt they couldn’t have taken the “hit” with her being gone during the summer during tourists season, then why allow her to go in the first place? She surely wasn’t going to give the shuffle producers any of the money she would’ve gotten from lady day. Also Scott never saidbwe ARE operating at a loss he said it MAY happen, but then again i ask why allow her to go in the first place? You may not have liked Alicia’s response but she’s simply responding to what Scotts giving us and he seems intent on not saying anything more so why can’t we inquire about it? The cast is stocked with Broadway stars, the choreography is wonderful, they may not have won A tony but getting nominated is nothing to sneeze at and his poorly written statement summed it up to be “congrats on the pregnancy but u shut it down not me!” Perhaps if Scott had taken some responsibility in his response, rather than attempt to shift blame he wouldn’t get this type of response. Also it’s not just Alicia who’s upset about Shuffle, they’ve been doing good number wise every week so people want to understand what the problem is. Also it’s not right to presume that just because she’s not a producer she doesn’t understand how theater operates, maybe she really does and can ask WTF Scott? Just because you don’t have the title doesn’t mean u lack the other credentials. Just saying.

          • Avatar

            Shawked

            June 27, 2016 at 1:01 AM

            Baby doll, you lost me at “they had a rock star in preparations.” (Let me know if I need to go back and read the rest of whatever you wrote.)

          • Avatar

            Kei

            June 27, 2016 at 9:38 AM

            Not necessary as you only want to bash the authors opinion for the sake of bashing the authors opinion. Nothing to discuss/explain after that. Enjoy your day!

          • Avatar

            Shawked

            June 28, 2016 at 3:20 AM

            You said “rock star”, right? LOL!!

    • Avatar

      NeoAdamite

      June 26, 2016 at 7:44 PM

      This is silly. Although I don’t agree with the author (see comment below), you don’t need to be a chef to know when an egg has gone rotten.

      • Avatar

        Shawked

        June 26, 2016 at 8:07 PM

        Producers don’t close successful shows that are making money. They close ones that aren’t. What a crappy analogy with the egg. You should log off the internet. Forever. Delete your account.

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Get Your War Clothes On: Billy Porter Energizes in GLAAD Acceptance Speech

Jerrica White

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billy porter

So, I have a question.

In the same line of thought as “innocent until proven guilty,” do we grant the assumption of positive intent in our expectations of our brothers and sister in regards to woke-ness, à la woke until proven problematic?

Now don’t get me wrong, there was no doubt in my heart that Tony and Grammy Award-winner, Billy Porter, was woke. Nope, none. What I wasn’t ready for, was the way he fixed his fingers to pen one of the greatest acceptance speeches of my lifetime, and how he turned the Gospel classic “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” into a battle song.

The 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards honored Billy Porter with the Vito Russo Award, presented to an openly LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance.

He started by affirming the room full of members of marginalized communities, with my personal daily mantra: “You are enough. we are enough.”

Since the beginning of time artists are the folks who engage critically and encourage those who think they are powerless to question the status quo.

Brothers and sisters across the room leaned in.

The days of shut up and sing are over.

Alliteration informed and illustrated as Porter preached on remaining “vigilantly visual” as we tell our stories. Acknowledging the reality of our times, he spoke on Number 45:

Where they slipped up this time is in that declaration of war. It’s not only against Black and Brown people and Queer people anymore, it’s against ALL of us. And as a result, the good news is: white folk, and straight folk, and all those fierce women folk, are mad now. And NOW maybe something might get done!

Get. Your. War. Clothes. On.

From slavery to emancipation, to the 13th Amendment, to Jim Crow, to the Civil Rights Movement. From Stonewall to AIDS, to marriage equality— we gotta remember the shoulders who we stand on—the ones who fought and died for those freedoms that we hold so dear. Let’s use these historical strides we’ve made as a nation to empower us as warriors on this battlefield of equality.

Amen.

Until we can figure out how to love one another unconditionally, no one wins. Freedom. Equality. Justice. Have always come at a cost and evidently the always will.

If that’s not the truth.

Stay strong. Stay vigilante. Stay visible. Stay hopeful. Stay focused. Be brave. Be fierce.

Resist.

RESIST.

RESIST.

RESIST.

For a full list of this year’s winners, honorees, and guests, visit GLAAD.

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Jazmine Sullivan: The Next Singer-Songwriter To Write A Broadway Musical?

Jerrica White

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We recently caught up with Jazmine Sullivan at The HeLa Project, a multimedia exhibition inspired by the HBO film, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Like the rest of us, Jazmine is in awe of the under-told story of Henrietta Lacks and her instrumental role in modern medicine. We further asked about why she got involved with the project and she said: “Anyway I can give light to an extraordinary woman like that, I’m there.”

Some of the integral women in bringing this story to light have their roots in Broadway: Tony Award-winning producer Oprah Winfrey, who not only stars in the film, but also credited as executive producer, and Tony Award winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, who portrays the title character.

We wouldn’t be Broadway Black if we didn’t keep it real.

Let’s be honest, we can’t get enough of 11-year-old Jazmine singing “Home” like she wrote the piece, so we got to asking, and it turns out Jazmine wouldn’t mind putting her pen to paper to create a musical for the Broadway stage.

She said performing on Broadway isn’t in the plans for the near future but, “You never know! I love writing and creating characters!”

God!? Oprah!?!? Stephen Byrd & Alia Jones-Harvey?!?! Who’s going to snatch this up?

Until then, it sounds like we have some new music to expect. What kind of musical would you like to see from Ms. Sullivan? Sound off below in the comments!

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Twitter: @BroadwayBlack

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