I regret to inform you that political correctness has just claimed hundreds of victims.
About a month ago, I wrote about the PC outrage over the casting of Mandy Patinkin in the Tony-nominated Broadway musical, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and how he was replacing a black actor who wasn’t making the show enough money and that the racial backlash forced Patinkin to withdraw from the cast.
It was announced last week that the show is shutting down Sept. 3rd.
Per The New York Times:
“The skies over Broadway will be darker come Sunday, Sept. 3, when one of the brightest shows to blaze there in many seasons, Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 ends its exuberant run…. The reasons for its premature demise are complicated and unpleasant.“
Yes, the reasons for the show’s demise are unpleasant, but they’re certainly not complicated. And if it’s too painful for the NYT to tell you why The Great Comet is shutting down, allow me to tell you.
In early July, the show’s star Josh Groban, a very high-profile performer, left the show and the role of the title character Pierre was given to a lesser-known actor named Okieriete Onaodowan, who is best known for his supporting performance in the Broadway smash hit Hamilton. Unfortunately, the box office revenue dropped since Groban’s departure, so the show’s producers decided to cast Patinkin, another very high-profile performer, to take Onaodowan’s place as a last-ditch effort of sorts to save the show. But when it was announced that Patinkin was joining the cast, that set off the social justice warriors because a white man was taking a black man’s job, even though that job first belonged to another white man. As a result, Patinkin pulled out, Onaodowan left on the mid-August date Patinkin was supposed to take over, the ultimately the show’s composer Dave Malloy, who originally played Pierre in the off-Broadway production, reprised the role for the rest of the run.
Part of the outrage, particularly from black performers in the theater community, is understandable. Having a black actor be the lead in a major Broadway production is a big deal. However, what they refuse to understand was that it was a business decision. I’m sure Onaodowan was fantastic, but the show was losing money since he became the lead. What they also won’t acknowledge is that far more people know who Patinkin is, especially over Onoadowan. And unless they replaced him with a better known actor of color, no one else would have appeased the PC police. It’s quite shameful that their knee-jerk reactions clouded their judgment because now the show is closing.
Due to a couple hundred Twitter users who voiced their fury with their fingertips, a couple hundred people will lose their jobs. According to Playbill.com, 240 people were involved in the cast, orchestra, and production crew of The Great Comet (the number might be slightly off as numerous individuals left or joined the show throughout its run like Groban).
I made a prediction that the show wouldn’t make it til Thanksgiving without a well-known star like Patinkin. Turns out it won’t even make it til Labor Day. And it’s a direct result of a society that has gotten so over-the-top sensitive that it’s literally affecting hundreds of people who will be out of work because a small group of triggered individuals cried victimhood. I hope they feel good about themselves because the activism they thought was heroic and noble was actually foolish, selfish and pathetic.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.