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Riedel on vultures circling ‘Great Comet’

10086sunset
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http://nypost.com/2017/08/03/without-groban-and-patinkin-vultures-are-circling-great-comet/

 

The plot thickens.

"Members of the company were also unhappy with Onaodowan. Several sources say he agreed to step aside for Patinkin, knowing the show needed help at the box office. A source says Onaodowan even agreed to do publicity with Patinkin and was prepared to say he would be happy to rejoin the show in the future.

“He was completely on board,” says a source. “We knew this could be tricky, and we didn’t want to do anything that would hurt him.”

But once the social-media storm erupted, Onaodowan stopped talking to the producers, sources say. They also say that he met privately in his dressing room last week with Rafael Casal, a performer who led the attack on the show."

Updated On: 8/4/17 at 01:03 AM
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rosscoe(au)
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So it was never the producers at fault.....Racism towards white people at its finest

Well I didn't want to get into it, but he's a Satanist. Every full moon he sacrifices 4 puppies to the Dark Lord and smears their blood on his paino. This should help you understand the score for Wicked a little bit more. Tazber's: Reply to Is Stephen Schwartz a Practicing Christian
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HogansHero
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shall we just say that Riedel's lazy penchant for getting things half right and half wrong is in full force this week? 

 

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RippedMan
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I just get such an icky feeling from Oak. First, his bio in the Playbill says "I've done other things besides Hamilton." What a dick. Be PROUD that you're in one of the biggest shows of the past decade and beyond. That's just utterly infuriating. 

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Itonlytakesajourney
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^^ Tbh I agree. He sounds kind of ungrateful for the things he HAS done, be glad you were even considered for a part in a groundbreaking musical. 

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SmoothLover
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At the end of the day it is all about $$$$$$.

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GeorgeandDot
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Riedel is correct here.  I heard the same information from a friend of mine who is associated with the show.  Oak seems to be kind of a dick.  He was given a great deal that was clearly in the best interest of the production and accepted it initially.  He's very close with Casal and Casal's opinions were Oak's opinions.

The producers may not be perfect, but Oak really screwed them and the entire cast, crew, and creatives by acting so unbelievably unprofessional.

Rainah
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I don't know what to think about the Oak/Chavkin stuff. Oak always struck me as a lovely person, very hardworking. But I've met Rachel, the friend of a friend (essentially) is her assistant director for Hadestown, and when I've mentioned those two things other members of the company have gushed about how wonderful she is. Down to earth, hardworking, least egotistical director - puts the work in, runs a tight ship, and is incredibly generous as a person.

In terms of whose side I'm on... I gotta go with the person I know, and have heard reports of. I can't imagine what went down.

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haterobics
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Rainah said: "In terms of whose side I'm on... I gotta go with the person I know, and have heard reports of. I can't imagine what went down."

We have to pick sides?

PaulWom
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Casal Tweets that he was at the show on Jul 26, so that aspect seems to be correct.

https://twitter.com/RafaelCasal/status/890467550873526272

The real question now is, to forgive the pun... Who knows what went on in the "room where it happened?"

Rainah
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haterobics said: "We have to pick sides?"

Poor choice of words. Rather that I was trying to reconcile what I had thought about Oak, (from backstage videos and interviews and such) and what I knew about Rachel (from considerably more first-hand sources) and concluding that one was more credible than the other. Of course, there are very few reasons a director should behave like that, but based on what I know of her I have to believe there were some pretty extreme circumstances and it's making me doubt a lot of what I thought I knew about Oak. I drove down to NYC specifically to see him in the role (full price premium tickets too) and I've been a fan for a while. 

Updated On: 8/4/17 at 02:43 AM
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qolbinau
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I'm hope the thoughtless ultra "PC" crowd who were willing to slap the label RACISM onto this situation will now understand the impact of their behaviour. I consider myself progressive of course but in 2017 this is getting ridiculous. We are becoming a stereotype of ourselves that make us easy targets for criticism. If we want to be taken seriously when real issues of racism exist (and other injustices) we need to be able to accurately see when racism does exist and where it does not.

 

"Rose in Gypsy was like going through therapy for me. Playing Rose helped me put a lot of emotions to bed. There was so much lacking in Rose and that's why she had to prove herself through her children. [interviewer]In ways that reminded you of your mom?[/interviewer]. Let's just say the role was very interesting for me. That one was the most interesting [I've ever played]" - Bernadette Peters (2018)
Audrey33
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They seem happy enough in each other's company here:

http://d2npu017ljjude.cloudfront.net/images/custom/w1200/92342-14.jpg

PaulWom
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Audrey33, the photo you use there.. is it from BWW? Because I recall a similar photo that appears to be from the mezz here. https://twitter.com/GreatCometBway/status/885171166436085760

 

i doubt Chavkin/Oak would be getting into an (alleged) screaming match in front of cameras.

PaulWom
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Side bar: Correct me if I'm wrong, but that appears to be the Imperial mezz lobby, correct? I remember it from my last visit to the show...

bear88
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This is one of those times when the fact that Riedel is the only source of information is frustrating.

I don't know whether his facts are accurate, and he's not known to be the most careful reporter. Most of the time, that doesn't matter, but this isn't his usual fare.

I don't know whether his gossip is accurate, which obviously does raise the relevant question of whether Onaodowan was treated badly by the producers or whether he played along and then ambushed them via friends, endangering the entire production. The latter is a pretty serious accusation, and one that - if true - would seem likely to damage his career. 

And yet the entire story is told from the producers' side, and anonymous members of the cast, leaving me to wonder what's being left out. (Of course, if I'm Onaodowan or his allies, I probably don't want to talk to Riedel anyway, as he's already made his opinions clear.)

Other people certainly know more than I do about the situation, and Onaodowan may have done everything he's accused of doing. But for example, the timeline of events seems a little funky. Riedel says Onaodowan was playing along, was going to do publicity with Mandy Patinkin, and everything was OK. But then the social media furor broke out, and he's meeting with Rafael Casal in his dressing room, and refusing to talk to the producers.

But Casal started tweeting about Onaodowan's de facto dismissal on the morning it was announced, and urged people to post things on the Great Comet site. The criticism from Cynthia Erivo, Adrienne Warren and other black actors all started that day. Was Onaodowan fine with everything until Casal started tweeting that very morning? What's their relationship? They seem to be friends, and he's portrayed as Onaodowan's mouthpiece, a characterization Casal has done little to discourage on Twitter.

I suppose it's possible that Onaodowan said he was fine with everything until his friends and other black Broadway performers got angry on his behalf. But that portrays him in an awfully bad light, behaving in a self-defeating manner because he was egged on to do it.

And then the piece ends with some gossip about Onaodowan and Chavkin not getting along in front of the cast. Does this have anything to do with the current issue, or is just random chatter about creative tensions that could be months old?

Because I enjoyed the show so much, I am inclined to be sympathetic to the creator, the director, the cast, even the producers. But it would be nice to get some balanced reporting on this.

Updated On: 8/4/17 at 03:09 AM
PaulWom
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bear88, you raise some interesting points... but then again, one of the fishiest things (at least to me) is that while Rafael started his twitter attack on Comet the morning the Mandy news was released, it took Oak two (?) days to make a post about it, and a pretty vague one at that. Was Oak not aware of the pretty serious accusations his friend was publicly throwing at the show? I find that hard to believe.

idk, honestly, but when this whole thing went down , I just remember feeling like there were too many plot holes and unanswered questions. 

Updated On: 8/4/17 at 03:22 AM
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rosscoe(au)
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And it would seem not the producers fault 

Well I didn't want to get into it, but he's a Satanist. Every full moon he sacrifices 4 puppies to the Dark Lord and smears their blood on his paino. This should help you understand the score for Wicked a little bit more. Tazber's: Reply to Is Stephen Schwartz a Practicing Christian
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dramamama611
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Well, the public stuff started when the announcement was public. The meetings happened before it went public. The meetings with Oak/producers, with Patinkin/producers and even with Oak/Casal.

 

This is sad to hear, if true.... especially if the show shutters.  It's so hard to undo perceptions. Not unlike false accusations in the media. People don't stick around for the truth to be exposed 

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
10086sunset
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Hogan is probably correct with about the "half right, half wrong" observation.

Appreciate someone finally showing the other side of the coin, how Oak isn't all sunshine and roses and only a victim. 

I tend to give Riedel the benefit of the doubt here, mostly because he's been pretty critical of the producing team in the past during the run.

 

schubox
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If this is true, no way Oak gets another job right? 

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raddersons
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While I love all the speculation in this thread, I don't trust NYPost's notoriously gossipy news with a conservative slant to accurately portray anything involving race. If this is true, it definitely makes it seem like Oak sabotaged the show -- maybe he didn't think it would get as far as closing the show.

I do think one thing's for sure: Producers are going to think twice before casting Oak or Rafael Casal in anything major. Producers want a safe bet, not a pot-stirrer. If casting him means risking their money because of something he says, they'll go with a safer choice. 

Updated On: 8/4/17 at 07:55 AM
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Rainah said: "haterobics said: "We have to pick sides?"

Poor choice of words.
"

Rainah, there really is no need to explain; everyone knew what you meant.

============> this board is a nest of vipers <============

"Michael Riedel...The Perez Hilton of the New York Theatre scene"
- Craig Hepworth, What's On Stage
Updated On: 8/4/17 at 08:01 AM
bisous3
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Sadly this Riedel article is accurate. No "big name" actor wants to get involved in this controversy either or wants their name attached to anything like this. Oak could absolutely save this show by 1- agreeing to stay on through his original dates and 2- making a public statement absolving the management/producers/directors of any wrongdoing or racism. But here's the thing. There's pressure on him in a way to use this opportunity to bring attention to the racism/lack of diversity on Broadway in general. So he either doesn't do anything to help the show stay open or he faces a possible backlash from people who want him to take a stand. Not an easy position to be in.

SarahNYC2
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Honestly I have no idea what to believe but I find the whole thing sad. Back in December I saw the show-JG was Pierre. I was amazed at the whole show, like others, never having seen anything like it. In late June I was back in NYC with my daughter who is 9 and mom-we had a heavy schedule of shows. My daughter was sad about not getting to see DEH with Ben Platt so my mom and I decided to add Comet since she loved Josh Groban. She was completely in love with the show.

She and I had an unexpected overnight in NYC last night. I at first thought of taking her to Prince of Broadway. However she asked to see Comet again. I was so glad we saw it. Oak was excellent-obviously not Josh, but this is a show where you can have different actors for Pierre and the show is still amazing. And as I watched the show I was saddened to think it could close soon. I don't think there will ever be another show like this. Plus it's a show you can see multiple times. Both my daughter and I sat in different areas the last time we saw it and our experience was different this time. not better or worse just different.

I wish they could have worked it so that Oak and Mandy could have gotten potential theater goers and past ones excited about both of them getting to see the show. The marketing should have been to encourage multiple seeings of the show with different Pierres.