Steven Schwartz, the famed composer behind hits like “Pippin,” “Godspell,” and “Wicked,” is putting his ruby colored slipper down. The Tony Award winner is marshaling the forces of Broadway to fight back against a new North Carolina law overturning all nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people.
In an email sent to other writers and producers, Schwartz revealed that he will deny any North Carolina theater the rights to produce any of his musicals until the law is overturned and urges other industry leaders to follow his lead.
“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,” Schwartz wrote.
“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.
“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or permit productions of our work by, theaters and organizations in North Carolina until this heinous legislation is repealed.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.”
Schwartz joins dozens of corporations seeking to sanction the state for discriminating against LGBT people. The CEO of Pepsi Co joined the fight yesterday by sending a letter to Governor Pat McCrory demanding repeal of the law; the company’s signature drink, Pepsi Cola, was invented in North Carolina.