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‘Wicked’ composer bans all performances in North Carolina over anti-LGBT law

Nick Duffy April 4, 2016

The composer behind the hit musical Wicked will not allow the show to be performed anywhere in North Carolina until the state repeals its anti-LGBT law.

Last month the North Carolina Republicans passed a law which voids all local ordinances protecting LGBT rights, and permits businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on the grounds of religious belief.

The new law, signed by Republican Governor Pat McCrory, also bans transgender students in public schools from using their preferred bathroom.

McCrory’s decision has attracted a legal challenge as well as a growing boycott of the state.

Hundreds of companies have come out against the new law – while New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston and New York State have all cut formal ties with the state.

Amid the row, the composer of Wicked has banned all productions of his shows in the state.

In a letter to other theatre bigwigs, Schwartz – who also wrote ‘Godspell’ and ‘Pippin’ – outlined his reasons and urged others to follow suit.

According to BroadwayWorld, he wrote:  “To my fellow theatre writers and producers: As you no doubt know, the state of North Carolina has recently passed a reprehensible and discriminatory law.

“I feel that it is very important that any state that passes such a law suffer economic and cultural consequences, partly because it is deserved and partly to discourage other states from following suit.

“Therefore, I and my collaborators are acting to deny the right to any theatre or organization based in North Carolina to produce any of our shows.

“We have informed our licensing organizations and touring producers of this, and I’m happy to say have met with compliance and approval from them.”

He added: “In the 1970s, I, along with many other writers and artists, participated in a similar action against apartheid in South Africa, and as you know, this eventually proved to be very effective.

“If you are in agreement, you may want to join me in refusing to license our properties to, or permit productions of our work by, theaters and organizations in North Carolina until this heinous legislation is repealed.

“Thank you for considering this.”

Some have noted the lawls similarities to some of Wicked’s themes – the show features animals such as Doctor Dillamond targeted and persecuted for being different.

That message might not have gotten through to Republican Senator Ted Cruz, though – Cruz is apparently a “big fan” of musicals despite his fierce opposition to LGBT rights.

Two flying monkeys in the show’s Broadway cast got engaged on stage on Christmas Day last year.

More: composer, Gay, LGBT, North Carolina, US, Wicked

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