Boycott Called: Musical Theatre’s Artistic Director Supported Prop 8
Actress Susan Egan who appeared as Belle in the original Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast has given her support of boycotting Sacramento’s California Music Theatre/Sacramento Music Circus over issues surrounding the passage of PropH8. The theater’s artistic director Scott Eckern, who is Mormon, contributed of $1000 in support of California’s divisive Proposition 8 which eliminated marriage rights for gay couples.
I am deeply troubled by the news about Scott, as I have worked for and known him since 1993. I find his behavior hypocritical at best and, more likely, distressingly prejudiced. Many of you friends who, like myself, have worked for Scott might be floored to know this news. I think at this point I shall do my best to "out" him and any others like him. Folks who show (and make money) playing one game, but with an inner intolerance that denies everything our industry represents.
Egan contacted Marc Shaiman, the writer of Hairspray, who had already been in touch wiht CMT and Eckern. Shaiman wrote to the actress:
Yes, it’s all true! Of course, there is nothing much I can do since they’ve already done HAIRSPRAY, but the AVE Q guys (at least one of them) may do something, perhaps picket his own show! But, as I hope people realize, it is not really up to a writer to cancel a production that has already been licensed.
What I could do I did, which was to call Mr. Eckern directly and say what I had to say.
Sacramento Music Circus holds a cherished place in my heart, primarily because of Leland Ball and the inspirational talents he would gather for his productions. I feel the spirit of Leland is lost under Scott’s leadership. As a private citizen I choose not to support California Music Theatre while it operates under Mr. Eckern’s tenure.
I support Marc Shaiman in his boycott of CMT, and hope others will follow — as ticket-buyers, writers, musical directors, crew, designers and performers and more. In support of my gay and lesbian friends I find it a travesty that the entire arts community is not standing in solidarity for equal rights. Shame on Scott.
That our industry should be the first to raise money and awareness for AIDS to the result of awakening a country and world to the issue … well then, marriage (and every other sort of) equality is a no-brainer … and a duty and obligation.
I hope with this email to find others to "hold the space" with me …. full equality in marriage rights. If you should feel compelled to pass the information about Scott Eckern on to others …. by all means do.