Mandy Patinkin won't star in 'Great Comet' as planned after casting uproar

Ausiliatrice Cristiano
Luglio 30, 2017

According to the New York Times, Mandy Patinkin has withdrawn from Dave Malloy's The Great Comet, in which he was scheduled to appear in the role of Pierre for a limited three-week run (August 15-September 3). It was hoped that the return to Broadway of Patinkin, a Tony victor for Evita now widely known from his role on Homeland, would provide a stronger boost to sales, which have dipped since Groban's departure.

Cynthia Erivo, who won a Tony previous year for her role in the revival of "The Color Purple", summed up those feelings in a tweet on Wednesday, when the original news of the casting broke.

That's still higher than the amount for most Broadway shows, and still more than the production's running costs, but not as much as the musical was likely to bring in with Mr. Patinkin in the role.

In a statement e-mailed to the New York Times Thursday evening, Patinkin addressed the controversy, stating: "My understanding of the show's request that I step into the show is not as it has been portrayed and I would never accept a role knowing it would harm another actor", he said. I have heard what members of the community have said and I agree with them. Oak, who was scheduled to appear as Pierre for this period graciously agreed to make room for Mandy, and we sincerely hope that Oak will return to us in the fall or winter.

Malloy (who has also played Pierre on and off-Broadway) reacted to the whole situation in a series of tweets.

Producers of the musical confirmed Patinkin's departure in a statement obtained by EW.

The producers of The Great Comet, led by Howard and Janet Kagan, scrambled to fix a PR disaster after being blindsided by the fuss. "As part of our honest efforts to keep Comet running for the benefit of its cast, creative team, crew, investors and everyone else involved, we arranged for Mandy Patinkin to play Pierre. However, we had the wrong impression of how Oak felt about the casting announcement and how it would be received by members of the theater community, which we appreciate is deeply invested in the success of actors of color - as are we - and to whom we are grateful for bringing this to our attention", the statement said.

"We regret our mistake deeply, and wish to express our apologies to everyone who felt hurt and betrayed by these actions", they continued. "So sorry to have missed the racial optics of it", he wrote.

Playbill.com said Ingrid Michaelson temporarily replaced longtime cast member Brittain Ashford in an effort to boost ticket sales. Show would have closed.

How will social media respond if the show now has to close and all those actors, orchestra, crew and staff lose their jobs. Turns out it needs a name to sell it. Mandy is a handsome legend. "Had no idea. He didn't ask to out Oak, the show asked him to come ASAP because we were on brink of closing", Malloy went on.

"Please don't give Mandy grief, he's devastated", he added. "I am not sure that the show has a future now". Further, while the show was nominated for 12 Tonys, it only won two technical awards, possibly further limiting its ability to market itself.

Mandy Patinkin has announced that he will no longer be joining the cast of Broadway's The Great Comet. With Onaodowan in the role, the show's take had dropped to less than a million. But in this case, it may have made the role untouchable to a star with box office clout, not to mention the challenge of finding a name willing to step in at such short notice.

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