Politics & Government

No ‘Wicked’ for NC: Composer Stephen Schwartz bans NC shows over HB2

Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz’s work includes ‘Wicked.’
Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz’s work includes ‘Wicked.’ File photo

The reaction against North Carolina’s law rolling back LGBT protections continues to spread beyond the business world, where corporations have called for its repeal. Now Broadway’s musical world is flexing its muscle.

This email by Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz began circulating Friday, according to the online theater publication BroadwayWorld.com:

“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.

“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or permit productions of our work by, theaters and organizations in North Carolina until this heinous legislation is repealed.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’s work includes “Pippin,” “Godspell,” “Wicked,” “Working” and “The Magic Show.”

At last count, more than 120 companies had called for the law to be repealed. On Friday night, the CEO of PepsiCo – the company whose signature soft drink was invented in North Carolina – sent a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory calling for a repeal.

Governors of several states have banned most official travel to North Carolina in protest, the latest being Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton.

The law prohibited a Charlotte ordinance from going into effect that would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom that they identify with, not their biological identity. It also prohibited other cities and counties from adopting similar ordinances, and eliminated the ability to sue in state court for discriminatory firing.