The Queen City Theatre Company has presented an official response to the complaints coming in regarding their next production, Paul Rudnick’s “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.” The show, which is scheduled to open on Feb. 2, will not be shut down according to Artistic Director Glenn T. Griffin and Managing Director Kristian Wedolowski.
This story has already received coverage on Fox Charlotte. You can view their coverage of the story here.
Below is an official response received from Queen City Theatre Company in regards to the complaints received and the scheduled protest against the production:
In February, Queen City Theatre Company will be presenting Paul Rudnick’s off-Broadway hit comedy: “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.” Our mission is to create a season that entertains our audience but is also thoughtful and challenging. In the 21st Century, we are faced with different situations and with different experiences, and we need new and different plays to help us try and understand even a little of the world around us. After reading Paul Rudnick’s work, we thought this was an amazing piece of literature, a play our audiences would enjoy, and it fit nicely with our mission. We also felt that the quest Rudnick puts his characters on in search of their own faith and meaning was definitely a quest that many of our patrons including ourselves have been on or might still be on. It is a quest that makes us stronger as individuals.
On Thursday 1/19/2012 in the afternoon, Queen City Theatre Company started receiving, directly and through the renter of the venue where our shows are produced, email communications in protest of our production. This national email campaign is combined with phone calls and letters with the same message: “stop this show from coming to the stage in Charlotte, NC”.
The campaign was originated at a national level by an organization called America Needs Fatima, an affiliate of TFP (The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property) and ANF (as per the TFP website) has approximately 120,000 supporters contributing to their cause nationwide. The request to protest was posted on several other Catholic blogs urging people to write and demand us to shut down the production and with the same threat of organizing large protests.
The thousands of communications are bullying at its best, as Directors of QCTC explained. Our staff, cast and crew, have been called “Satan”, accused of “deviant sexual behaviors” and ensured that “we will go to hell” while “they will be laughing on the other side of the gate”. They called QCTC’s team “sinners” and “abominations”. The emails also talk poorly and fearfully about other religions, promoting defamation, and with a strong focus on the LGBT community and the “choice of homosexuality”. Among others they state that QCTC’s behavior is “the kind of thing I would expect from people who don white sheets” and that being a lesbian “is the biggest insult of them all”.
Paul Rudnick’s “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” is about man’s search for God or at least an understanding of God. As Paul Rudnick says in his introduction to the play: ‘I wanted to, however comically, research the roots of faith: Why do we need to believe? What terror or transcendence leads to either the invention or the discovery of a god?”. Adam is on his quest for God and in his dreams and imagination sees himself going through the journey of creation. Act One follows two couple’s adventures in creating civilization. These four friends reach very different conclusions about the nature of nature. The act, as explained by the author, is written in broad strokes, befitting the tumult of society’s beginnings, and the characters don’t age as they hurtle from the Garden of Eden to slavery in Egypt and beyond. Adam sees his friends playing many roles in this journey. In Act II we see a clear parallelism in between both worlds and we explore where faith has landed in contemporary Manhattan.
Paul Rudnick’s characters are works of fiction. It is a piece of literature meant to inspire thoughtful conversation and not feat. It’s a fictional work and should be taken as such and by no means intends to offend anyone. The characters do not represent or portray any of the people in the Bible as it is written and published today. They are their own creations. There has been many protests in other cities where there was anger over the character of Mabel’s pregnancy at the end of Act One. People claim that she is supposed to be The Virgin Mary and that it is a sacrilege. It is obvious that they have not read nor have they seen the play. Mabel is Mabel. She is not The Virgin Mary. She is a woman, whether gay, straight, or whatever that is experiencing the divine gift and miracle of a child.
It’s really surprising that so many people would join a protest without even knowing or confirming what is communicated to them and blindly follow instructions by a community or organization. If all those individuals would come see the show they would realize that there is nothing to fear. QCTC’s production contains no nudity, or Virgin Mary, or calling her a lesbian or anything else that the organization that started this affirms.
For those unfamiliar with the process, QCTC did not write the show, there is an author linked to a publisher and a recognized licensing company. The show has been produced Off-Broadway in 1998 to critical and audiences acclaim and after that in several cities throughout the country.
In the production we have passionate an eager young talents, actors, crew, production team and technical staff, working hard to put on a great quality show. We believe these hard working artists should not be bullied under any circumstance and this protest is not acceptable. QCTC respects the many religions, races and sexual orientations in Charlotte and the world. In our team we have individuals from many religious affiliations (Christians, Methodists, Catholics, Jews) and some that just don’t believe. We have straight and LGBT young actors and supporters, various origins and nationalities and we support diversity in its many forms.
“The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” is produced at a theatre, a venue for which you need to purchase a ticket in order to attend. Those who do not wish to see the show, or believe in what they were told the show is about, they don’t need to come. On the other side, if anyone comes see the show and doesn’t like it or feels offended by it, Queen City Theatre Company will consider a complimentary ticket for our next production of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion in the month of May 2012.
Again, we are saddened that there are people who wish to protest the production of “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” in ignorance of what the show is really about. Of the many emails we have received, there is not one person who can properly explain their viewpoint without misrepresenting the work. People claim that the QCTC production has male nudity…maybe other productions have had this, but ours doesn’t. They claim that we are insulting The Virgin Mary by calling her a lesbian. As we have said before, Mary is not even in this play, so the argument is one based in ignorance and protested for protest sake and not on any real merit.
On February 2nd, 2012, Queen City Theatre Company WILL present Paul Rudnick’s comedy: “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.” This show WILL NOT be closed down. This production WILL NOT be altered or changed on the request of people who protest and bully. The production will be one that will celebrate love, faith, belief, God, and the right to question why we exist and why we are here on this earth. This production will not be stopped out of fear or pressure. We invite you to attend this production of “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” with an open mind and an open heart. You might find yourself laughing out loud, crying, thinking, and you just might also find yourself comprehending what it truly means to be human.
On opening night, 50% of all proceeds will go towards the Human Rights Campaign 2012 North Carolina Gala. Even if you are unable to make the opening night performance, a percentage of all proceeds will benefit the HRC North Carolina Gala.