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11/11/2008

DRA-MA!

by Jeremy Hooper

200811110856Remember Scott Eckern, the California Musical Theatre artistic director who was found to have donated 1000 smackers in support of Proposition 8? Well since we first told you about the donation on Friday, the situation has simply exploded. Hairspray composer Marc Shaiman has publicly vowed to never again let one of his shows play with the company. Avenue Q book writer Jeff Whitty hasn't gone so far as to fight for his show being yanked from the theatre company's March 2009 schedule, but he has, like Marc, said he will work to prevent CMT from producing any of his future shows if Eckern is still in a top slot. So essentially, due to his non-support of the gay folks who have helped pay his bills, Eckern has unwittingly created a very dramatic drama club who are more willing to bring the curtain down on bias than to bring the curtain up on their own productions.

Here's some of what's developed:

*A Sacramento Bee story that rounds up the key points (and links to us -- thanks, Sac Bee!): Prop. 8 gift gets theater's leader in a ruckus [Sac Bee]

*What Jeff Whitty has to say about the matter: A Kerfluffle! [Whitless]

*Broadway actress Susan Egan has weighed in with some thoughts: Letter from Susan Egan... [BroadwayWorld]

CMT's board of directors is reportedly meeting to decide how to proceed on this. Our suggestion: Mr. Eckern direct a production of H.G Wells' Time Machine that's so impressive, it actually allows him to go back and and stop the cruel, painful check that he put towards hurting so many.

**UPDATE: California Music Theatre Artistic Director Eckern Issues Apology Following Prop 8 Backlash [Playbill]

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Your thoughts

Brigham Young grad. Every year he lobbies to open the season with "Seven Brides for One Brother."

Posted by: Jeff | Nov 11, 2008 12:55:38 PM

You've got to be kidding? I’m outraged! I voted No on 8 AND I’m an avid supporter of California Musical Theatre AND a huge fan of Scott Eckern AND heterosexual with many gay friends and a daughter in the industry. I’m APPALLED at the gay and lesbian bloggers’ feedback mentioned in the Sac Bee article Nov. 11th with threats toward Eckern! Do you really think your audience is all gay? So, anyone that has come to see Hairspray, or future audiences, you will turn them away if they voted Yes on 8 or gave $$? Are you ready to refund all those people or have theatre banned for this reason? BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!!!! I am now changing my mind and will vote Yes on 8 in all future elections and will not take my children to see any musicals directed or produced by someone gay or lesbian. See how OUTRAGEOUS … Tsk, Tsk! [What happened to living and working together side by side regardless of race, age, or religious affiliation, …? My goodness, how juvenile. This an INeffective way to run a campaign, threats and anger!] So disappointed.

Posted by: | Nov 11, 2008 2:02:28 PM

Anon: Just to clarify, the people who are most actively calling for action are not bloggers, but rather the CREATORS OF SHOWS LIKE HAIRSPRAY AND AVENUE Q! They are the ones who have indicated that they don;t want their shows being produced by Eckern. You may disagree with that, and that is your right. But it's also their right to put their principles above their profit.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Nov 11, 2008 2:09:39 PM

Anon: Sorry, guy, you better be careful what YOU wish for - the musical theatre (and theatre in general) is as wonderful as it is THANKS to gay folks like us - were it not for us you'd be in a black void!!!! Vote Yes next time - you undoubtedly did this time also from the tone of your e-mail!

Posted by: tom | Nov 11, 2008 3:23:15 PM

Boy, you guys give a whole new meaning to the phrase "drama queens."

Posted by: JR | Nov 11, 2008 5:09:03 PM

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