Bay Street Releases More on PRINCE OF EGYPT Cancellation

Earlier today, Scott Schwartz (artistic director at Bay Street Theatre) released a statement further explaining the cancellation of the highly controversial production, Prince of Egypt.

Scott writes: Bay Street was excited to present this free opportunity for our community, to give a peek at the development of a new musical in progress. Over the past three years, Bay Street has made a strong commitment to the development and production of new works, having produced four world premiere productions in three years and also having started the now thriving Bay Street New Works Festival that we present every spring. The partnership with DreamWorks Theatricals to present a concert reading of The Prince of Egypt was born out of our ongoing commitment to helping develop new works for the stage, and Bay Street as an organization had no ongoing involvement with the project beyond this concert. The casting for the concert and now also the decision to cancel the event was made by the creative team, including composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz, book writer Philip LaZebnik, and me as director, and also by our producers Bill Damaschke and Dori Berinstein. Bay Street Theater supports the team in their decision to cancel this event, though we deeply regret any disappointment or inconvenience that this cancellation has caused to our loyal supporters and audience.

All of the team working on The Prince of Egypt strongly feels the discussion that arose around the casting of this concert is an important one and we appreciate the constructive feedback we have received from many of our friends and colleagues. While we have had diverse casts in each and every step of our process so far, we will continue these discussions and consider them fully as we develop specific approaches to casting as we move forward.

But, there were also personal attacks and comments online and in social media against our actors and creative team that were unproductive. This is the specific reason why the creative team and the producers are cancelling the concert and will continue the development of this new musical in private for now. The team feels strongly that social media harassment and bullying of artists is not acceptable nor is it a positive or constructive way to continue this important discussion about diversity and racial authenticity in casting. The talented actors who were to be involved in this concert were being paid very little and were only committed to helping develop this show for one night, for free, in our local park. The creative and producing team certainly could not ask them to endure online harassment for a one-night concert reading.

To read the statement in its entirety, head to the company's Facebook page.

For more information on the original casting of the production and cancelation: /article/Bay-Street-Theater-and-DreamWorks-Theatricals-Cancel-Controversial-PRINCE-OF-EGYPT-Concert-20160728


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