The brouhaha over a California production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that ended with the actor playing Big Daddy, John Lacy, being fired for confronting an audience member who shouted gay slurs during the performance has continued over the past week. While the debate over where Lacy did the right thing goes on, one thing wasn’t going on was the production, which was canceled by producers after the actor playing Brick, Anton Troy, quit in solidarity with Lacy.
Unfortunately, that cancellation came before a planned trip of Lacy’s mother flying cross-country to see him star in the play, which would be the first time she ever saw him act on stage. However, actor Brian Finney, a friend of Lacy’s and a member of the Actors Gang, arranged with company founder Tim Robbins and co-artistic director Cynthia Ettinger to feature a one-night-only staged reading production at the Actors Gang’s Ivy Substation stage on Saturday. Furthermore, all proceeds from the show went to benefit the NoH8 Campaign, which promotes marriage and gender equality.
The performance featured only half of the cast from the original production, though it does include actress Emily Low, who played Maggie the Cat and appeared to be the main target of the heckler’s catcalls before switching to gay slurs aimed at Brick. Additionally, one of the producers of the new performance was Tim Sullivan, the producer/screenwriter who physically removed the heckler from the performance.
Lacy was ecstatic about the revival, telling LA Weekly, “It’s like one of these sappy screenplays that makes $100 million. It’s a happy ending!”
In his view, Finney just wanted to recognize Lacy’s good intentions, even if everyone does not agree that he did the right thing. He said, “I want to stand up for the guy who’s going to stand up for somebody. There’s been a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking about this. The bottom line is, I don’t know if 90 percent of us would have done what John did. It’s the thing we all want to do – we all want to be the good guy. But a lot of times, the opportunity comes, and you’re like, ‘Somebody else will do it’ or ‘I think the house manager should do something.’ I thought, I’ve got an opportunity to help the guy who did the right thing. I told him, ‘If there’s anybody besides your parents and your best friend there, that’s great. You’ll get a chance to play your part.’”
All 96 seats of the performance were sold out in a matter of hours. Incidentally, that is more than the 81 seats at the Repertory East Playhouse, where the original production was staged.