×

Artists, Activists Rally to Support New York’s Public Theater

An independent rally for New York’s Public Theater brought out a crowd of about 150 people in support of the organization that’s currently under fire for a controversial production of “Julius Caesar” that features a Trump-like Caesar.

Tony-winning actor Michael Cerveris (“Fun Home”) and monologuist Mike Daisey were among the attendees who addressed the crowd, which included actors, directors (among them Rachel Chavkin, director of Broadway’s “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812”), Public staff members, and other activists and supporters. Unaffiliated with the Public itself, organizers of the rally led chants and speeches at Astor Place in downtown Manhattan for about an hour, then finished with a short march down Lafayette Street to the theater.

“This rally is not just to speak up for the Public,” said Jesse Oxfeld, the writer and freelance theater critic who initiated the rally with director Shira Milikowsky and dramaturge-activist Jess Applebaum. “It’s to call out what happened over the weekend for what it was: propaganda and demagoguery.”

The Public’s Free Shakespeare in the Park staging of “Julius Caesar” sparked an outcry from conservatives after a “Fox & Friends” segment called attention to the show, which depicts the assassination of a Caesar who greatly resembles President Trump. The resultant online controversy prompted both Delta Air Lines and Bank of America to pull their funding from the production. Earlier Thursday, another funder, Time Warner, defended the Public at a shareholders meeting.

Popular on Variety

With the Public vowing in a statement (and reiterated at the show’s opening Monday) to stand by the show, “Julius Caesar” will end its limited run June 18 as scheduled, in order to make way for the incoming park production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

More Legit

  • Protesters demonstrate at the Broadway opening

    'West Side Story' Broadway Opening Night Sparks Protests

    Roughly 100 protestors gathered outside the Broadway premiere of “West Side Story” on Thursday night, carrying placards and chanting in unison to demand the removal of cast member Amar Ramasar. “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Ramasar has got to go,” they cried while holding signs that read “Keep predators off the stage,” “Sexual predators shouldn’t get [...]

  • West Side Story review

    'West Side Story': Theater Review

    Whittled down to one hour and forty-five minutes, “West Side Story” – with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and choreography by Jerome Robbins — has grown exceedingly dark and mislaid some of its moving parts in the new Broadway revival from edgy Belgian director Ivo Van Hove. (Can [...]

  • The Inheritance review

    'The Inheritance' Closing in March After Box Office Struggles

    “The Inheritance,” a sprawling and ambitious epic that grappled with the legacy of the AIDS epidemic, will close on March 15. The two-part play has struggled mightily at the box office despite receiving strong reviews. Last week, it grossed $345,984, or 52% of its capacity, a dispiriting number for a show that was reported to [...]

  • MCC theater presents 'Alice By Heart'

    Steven Sater on Adapting 'Alice by Heart' From a Musical to a Book

    When producers approached lyricist Steven Sater (“Spring Awakening”) to adapt Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” into a musical, his initial reaction was to recoil. His initial thought was that the book didn’t have a beginning, middle and an ending. But Sater pulled it off with his production of “Alice By Heart.” After an off-Broadway [...]

  • The Lehman Trilogy review

    Sam Mendes' 'Lehman Trilogy' Kicks off Ahmanson's New Season

    Sam Mendes’ “The Lehman Trilogy,” which took London’s West End by storm will be part of the Ahmanson’s lineup for the 2020-21 season. It will be joined by Broadway hits “Hadestown” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Artistic director Michael Ritchie announced the season that will also feature four fan favorites and another production to be [...]

  • Zoe Caldwell Dead

    Zoe Caldwell, Four-Time Tony Winner, Dies at 86

    Zoe Caldwell, an Australian actress with a talent for illuminating the human side of imposing icons such as Cleopatra and Maria Callas in a career that netted her four Tony Awards, died on Sunday due to complications from Parkinson’s disease, according to her son Charlie Whitehead. She was 86. Caldwell occasionally appeared in television and [...]

  • Cambodian Rock Band interview

    Listen: How 'Cambodian Rock Band' Became One of the Most Produced Plays in the U.S.

    One of the hottest trends in American theater this season is Cambodian surf rock from the 1970s — and that’s thanks to “Cambodian Rock Band.” Listen to this week’s Stagecraft podcast below: Playwright Lauren Yee’s genre-bending stage show, part family drama and part rock concert, has become one of the most-produced plays in the U.S. this season. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content