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Before he returns to Broadway next month, Little jagged pill faces criticism over its relationship with the transgender community, and in particular the treatment of trans actors in the series. Producers issued a statement on September 17 by addressing long controversy around the role of Jo who was clearly a non-binary character in the Boston previews, but whose gender became ambiguous on Broadway, with the cisgender actor playing the role telling Vulture in 2020 that Jo didn’t was never written other than cis. In the statement confirming that Jo is a non-binary character, the producers wrote: We want to recognize the reasonable and deeply felt upheaval around issues of transparency and accountability and Jo’s character, and presented a plan to improve the portrayal of trans broadcasts and non-binary identity. Yet in the days following that statement, trans actors involved in Alanis Morissette’s jukebox musical again criticized their interactions with the transgender community. They don’t see the absolute PAIN this causes! I have PTSD !!!!!, Iris Menas, a non-binary actor who was previously Jo’s understudy, tweeted after the producers released their statement. Be aware that this is not enough, added zie in another tweet. We are asking for basic care and we are on gas.
Nora Schell, another non-binary actress formerly involved in the production, tweeted that the production failed me and perpetuated the violence against a mentally ill black woman on September 7, after attending the Transgender March on Broadway. Then, a few days after the declaration of production, on September 24, Schell tweeted that they were intimidated, coerced and coerced by multiple superiors to postpone the CRITICAL AND NECESSARY surgery to remove the growths from my vagina that made me anemic when the show premiered.
In a lengthy statement, Schell claimed that they had problems communicating with the staging team around their diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome, and that the stage manager never spoke to the creative team about the diagnosis. de Schells, having already said they would. Schell also said that after they passed out from anemia due to the condition, the manager and a senior supervisor prompted them to perform that night; they then collapsed on the way to a locker room and were allowed out. Schell said their gynecologist recommended surgery after that day, but they were effectively forced to wait for surgery, or even Hello america the day before. The management team also, according to Schell, said they would not be able to take paid time off to recover from the operation. This is certainly the most alarming, fundamentally false and DANGEROUS incident that I have experienced, Schell wrote of the event. I am still grappling with the consequences of waiting for this surgery. Schell added later on Twitter that the manager involved was a vice-president of the Actors Equity Association.
Representatives for Little jagged pill and Actors Equity did not respond to requests for comment, nor did then-apparent director Ira Mont. But shortly after Schells’ statement, Tony-nominated actress Celia R. Gooding, who played Frankie, tweeted that the show’s issues with the trans community played into their decision to quit production. I can’t ignore the evil Shredded did to the trans and non-binary community, including actors onstage, offstage and behind the scenes of the production process, Gooding wrote, adding that they will be performing for the last time at The Tonys. I think it will be in my personal best interest to focus more on a job that I can align myself with emotionally and morally, just like Frankie would.
The controversy arises as the focus is on Little jagged pill before the Tony Awards on September 26, where the musical is the most nominated and possibly the most awarded show. A few weeks later, on October 21, the show officially returns to Broadway. Actions outlined in the producers’ statement on Jo’s role include hiring a new dramaturgy team including transgender members and members of color to review and deepen the script, and promising to prioritize actor auditions. for the role. [of Jo] who are on a gender trip or understand this experience personally in the future. Still, Lauren Patten, who created the role on Broadway, plans to return in the role in October. I am deeply sorry for the harm I have caused, she wrote on Instagram after the production statement, alongside a video chat with Shakina Nayfack, a trans actor. Patten continued: It’s my deepest hope that Jo is a character who can be claimed and owned by people of many queer identities, butch and masc women, non-binary and genderqueer people, trans men and so on. ‘others. When Nayfack asked Patten why she didn’t quit the role, Patten cited the role being closed after COVID-19 closed, as well as Jos’ identity not having been cut and dried.
In the days following the production declaration, trans people continued to criticize Pattens’ involvement as Jo. Although she does talk about being a queer center woman, Lauren says very explicitly that I am not trans and calls herself a cis person. Therefore, in my opinion, there is no justification for her continuing to play the role of Jo. Period, Christian Lewis, theater critic, tweeted. This discredits much of yesterday’s statement, they added. in another tweet. Gooding also appeared to refer to the casting decision in his own statement, writing that trans cast members have a space to exist and perform without transphobia and the ability to tell their own stories, as I have done over the years.
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