Official Statement: HOW TO SUCCEED Stagehand Passes Away Backstage; Performance Cancelled

By: Jun. 23, 2011
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Wednesday night was to mark the 100th performance of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, but after a delay of just over one-hour, the show was cancelled. The audience was informed twice via announcements that there was a delay, followed by an onstage apperance by Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette who told the audience that the performance would not be taking place, citing a "tragedy within the company." Reports in The New York Times and elsewhere state that the stagehand was 29 years old and that an accidental drug overdose is suspected. 

An official statement has been released stating that "This evening's performance of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING was canceled as a stagehand on the production unexpectedly passed away backstage just prior to the 8pm curtain. The name of the deceased and any further details are being withheld by the authorities pending notification of the family. The incident was not caused by an accident related to the production. The cast, crew and theatre staff mourn the loss of this member of their theatrical family. No further information is available at this time.

Patrons of Wednesday night's audience who purchased with a credit card will receive an automatic refund. All others should go to their point of purchase to obtain an exchange/refund."

Our thoughts and prayers go out tonight to the cast, crew, creative team, producers, those that work in front and behind the scenes at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, as well as of course family and friends. 

Several early reports form audience members outlined word of an accident or medical emergency that occured backstage. Audience members told that the first word of a delay came at around 8:15pm, with an announcement that there was a delay and that the audience would be kept posted, which was then repeated again at 8:35pm. A few minutes after 9pm, the show was officially cancelled with the onstage appearance of Radcliffe and Larroquette, followed by information on refunds for those in tonight's audience. 

The production, directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford, stars Daniel Radcliffe as J. Pierrepont Finch, John Larroquette as J. B. Biggley, Rose Hemingway as Rosemary Pilkington, Tammy Blanchard as Hedy La Rue, Christopher J. Hanke as Bud Frump, Rob Bartlett as Twimble/Wally Womper, Mary Faber as Smitty, Ellen Harvey as Miss Jones, Michael Park as Bert Bratt, and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist Anderson Cooper making his Broadway debut as the voice of the narrator. The cast of 30 includes Cameron Adams, Cleve Asbury, Tanya Birl, Kevin Covert, Paige Faure, David Hull, Justin Keyes, Marty Lawson, Erica Mansfield, Barrett Martin, Nick Mayo,Sarah O'Gleby, Stephanie Rothenberg, Megan Sikora, Michaeljon Slinger, Joey Sorge, Matt Wall, Ryan Watkinson, Charlie Williams and Samantha Zack.

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING has music and lyrics by Academy Award and Tony Award winner Frank Loesser, and a book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, based on the book by Shepherd Mead. The creative team for HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING includes Derek McLane (Sets) Catherine Zuber (Costumes), Howell Binkley (Lighting), Jon Weston (Sound), Tom Watson (Hair), Doug Besterman (Orchestrations), and David Chase (Music Director and Arranger). The 50th Anniversary production of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING is produced by Broadway Across America (John Gore, Thomas B. McGrath, Beth Williams), Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Joseph Smith, Michael McCabe, Candy Spelling, Takonkiet Viravan/Scenario Thailand, Two Left Feet Productions/PowerArts, Jen Namoff/Fakston Productions, Hilary A. Williams, HOP Theatricals, LLC/Paul Chau/Daniel Frishwasser/Michael Jackowitz, and Michael Speyer - Bernie Abrams/Jacki Barlia Florin - Adam Blanshay/Arlene Scanlan/TBS Service.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos