Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tragedy at Broadway’s How to Succeed Cancels 100th Performance Celebration

Brotherhood of Man

I became transfixed with Twitter last night as news started coming through, first of a delayed performance: 20 minutes…. then 45 minutes; followed by word that the performance had been cancelled due to tragedy.

'How to Succeed' at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.
Last night was to be the 100th performance of the acclaimed H2$ revival. The show’s star Daniel Radcliffe, gave out 100 free tickets to lucky fans earlier in the day to mark the occasion.

Shortly after 9pm, visibly shaken, John Larroquette and Radcliffe took the stage to inform the audience that due to a tragedy, the performance would not take place.

Official Press Release: "This evening's performance of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING was canceled as a stagehand on the production unexpectedly passed away backstage just prior to the 8pm curtain. The name of the deceased and any further details are being withheld by the authorities pending notification of the family. The incident was not caused by an accident related to the production. The cast, crew and theatre staff mourn the loss of this member of their theatrical family. No further information is available at this time.

Patrons of tonight's audience who purchased with a credit card will receive an automatic refund. All others should go to their point of purchase to obtain an exchange/refund."

According to Twitter posts by an investor in the show, 'unofficially' quoting one of the producers, the word broke that a stagehand had tragically died backstage, prior to the start of the show. The tweet, “RIP to the crew member at the Al Hirschfeld. My prayers are with everyone” caused Twitter, Facebook and theatre message boards to light up with concern and alarm.

It was later reveal by the New York Times, “According to the police, the stagehand, a 29-year-old man, was found unconscious and incardiac arrest backstage shortly before 8 p.m. He was rushed to St. Luke’sRoosevelt Hospital nearby, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. A policespokesman said that there was no criminality suspected and that investigatorsbelieved the man died from an overdose.”

At this point, there is a lot of speculation whether the death was accidental or suicide; in either case, a tragic night for the cast, crew and fans of H2$ and theatre aficionados everywhere. 

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