Tristram Kenton/Wicked

Stephen Schwartz Bans Productions Of “Wicked” In North Carolina After Anti-Gay Law

"I feel that it is very important that any state that passes such a law suffer economic and cultural consequences."

North Carolina is about to suffer another big blow for passing an heinous anti-gay law: Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz has announced he is prohibiting any production of his hit show Wicked while HB2 is still on the books.

BroadwayWorld.com published an email reportedly circulated by Schwartz on Friday:

“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,” wrote Schwartz.

Wicked
Joan Marcus/Wicked

“Therefore, I and my collaborators are acting to deny the right to any theater 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.”

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The award-winning composer-lyricist recalled how “in the 1970s, I, along with many other writers and artists, participated in a similar action against Apartheid in South Africa, and … this eventually proved to be very effective.”

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26:  Kristin Chenoweth and Stephen Schwartz attend the Dramatists Guild Fund's Gala: 'Great Writers Thank Their Lucky Stars' at Gotham Hall on October 26, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)

Schwartz, who’s also responsible for stage hits like Pippin, Godspell and Working, called on other playwrights and creative teams to refuse to license their shows in North Carolina, as well.

He is just the latest to sanction the Tar Heel State: Corporations from HBO to Pepsi have criticized the measure, and governors from across the country are banning non-essential travel. The White House criticized the measure as “mean-spirited.”

Passed during a special legislative session in March, HB2 prohibited any municipality in North Carolina from passing anti-discrimination laws covering groups that were not covered by state law—most notably LGBT people.

It was authored specifically to block a Charlotte ordinance allowing trans people to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, and to head off similar laws elsewhere.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery