Update: Apparently Dustin Lance Black will not be appearing in Saturday according to an email Nick Padgett sent to me today which is copied below:
Sorry, I just saw this in my spam box, and as I have been working around the clock on this benefit, my email overfloweth this week.
To answer your questions...here is the statement that was released last week in regards to this...
Upon our learning that there was concern with Jerry Springer's involvement in this play, we immediately took action earlier this week, and he will not be involved in this benefit performance in any way. It would never be the intent of myself or anyone involved to hurt, harm or offend anyone with anything we do...we felt it best to see that this event is presented peacefully in the intent and spirit in which it was conceived...in order to do that, we must make sure everyone in the community is comfortable, and therefore chose to re-cast the role which he was to play. This event was created to bring our community together and show positive support for Marriage Equality, as we make an impact through the power of the Arts with this historic event, and we hope that with these changes, the benefit can return to how it was intended to be presented, which is to show positive support for Equality right here in the Heart of America.
Also, to further answer your question, this play is written by Dustin Lance Black, he will not be appearing in it.
We hope that you will still join us for what promises to be a powerful evening, although it will be a very small audience, the room shall be full of heart. We hope that you will spread the positive word of this benefit, as we certainly do need attendance to make this benefit, well, a benefit for these great organizations, as of now, it doesn't look like it will even make up what it cost to put up this large scale event. Those who were part of the protest against Mr. Springer demanded a local rather than a celebrity, so we have been recasting with local talent, since this benefit was designed FOR the local community, we listened, in order to truly make this a collaborative community effort. I just wish we would see more support now from the LGBT community for this, as it took a lot of work to get a benefit of this scale to KC and by not having the support there, it will prevent even the consideration of future events in any similarity of scale.
A much longer answer than you were probably hoping for, but we do hope you will join us and spread the love.
Thank you for your time.
Producing Artistic Director, PADGETT PRODUCTIONS
"Bringing the Stars closer to YOU!"
Cell - 816-835-2281
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax - 816-470-2129
Charles Ferruza of the Pitch wrote about this and subsequently updated the article with the news that Springer was removed after the threat of the boycott.
From the Kansas Equality Coalition:
Greetings KEC members -The KEC-led boycott of the Kansas City production of "8," which originally was to star Jerry Springer, has been called off. Responding to intense public pressure brought about by KEC's public call to action, the play's local producers have fired Springer and replaced him with Dustin Lance Black.
Congratulations to Kansas City Metro chapter chair Sandra Meade for leading this successful action!
The Kansas City Metro Chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition is calling for a boycott of The American Foundation for Equal Rights & Broadway Impact's "8" by Dustin Lance Black, being held at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre in Kansas City, MO, on August 3rd.A press release from Padgett Productions of Kansas City has the headline “JERRY SPRINGER TO HEADLINE STARRY MARRIAGE EQUALITY BENEFIT AT THE KAUFFMAN CENTER”, and goes on further to say that the event will “feature an All-Star Celebrity Cast led by Television powerhouse Jerry Springer.”Jerry Springer is known by many in the LGBT advocacy community, especially the “T” advocacy community, as someone who has relentlessly profited from sensationalizing the suffering of thousands of participants on his television show, a great many of them being members of the transgender community. In the 20+ years of his show, Jerry Springer has had hundreds of shows which have perpetuated and reinforced the negative stereotype of transgender people as being deceitful and worthy of the constant stream of insults hurled at them by the audience, such as freak, she-male, tranny, and “it”. It is my personal opinion that Jerry Springer has done more harm to the transgender community than any other public figure, and those of us who are active in advocacy must constantly fight the stereotypes that he has spent years building up in order to overcome the negative public bias that hinder our access to legal equality.
In a subsequent email from the Producer of the show, Nick Padgett of Padgett Productions in Kansas City, he tried to minimize the importance of Jerry Springer’s involvement, and despite being used to hook people into buying tickets as the “headliner”, he may actually be reading a role during the stage reading portion of the show. It doesn’t matter what role Jerry Springer has. The fact that he is being used to make money in advertising for this effort, or playing any part in the show at all, while ignoring and trampling on the suffering he has caused to the transgender community for over 20 years is disgusting and cannot be tolerated.
Kansas Equality Coalition is a huge supporter of marriage equality initiatives. We initiated and coordinated the large DOMA/Prop 8 Decision Day event in Kansas City one month ago. But an entertainment company can’t make bad decisions in casting a person who has 20+ years of history harming part of the LGBT community, and expect everyone to say it is ok just because you are calling it a marriage equality benefit. This is unacceptable, and Kansas Equality Coalition is calling for a boycott of this event until Jerry Springer is removed from the event entirely, including all advertising and any role with the production itself.Please contact the following and let them know you are disappointed and will boycott this event until Jerry Springer is removed from any and all involvement with the event
Producer: Padgett Productions, Kansas City
Kaufmann Center (Miriam Kauffman Theatre): email@example.com
Social Bar, KC (partial sponsor of the event):http://socialbarkc.com/contact/