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Scott Rudin: Music Man actress welcomes producer's 'stepping back' announcement

·4-min read
Sutton Foster and Scott Rudin
Foster said Rudin's stepping back was "the only positive outcome"

Scott Rudin's announcement that he is to "step back" from the Broadway shows he produces has been welcomed by the lead actress of one of his productions.

Sutton Foster, who will star with Hugh Jackman in The Music Man from December, said it was "the only positive outcome" to an "unfortunate" situation.

Rudin's statement followed allegations of abusive behaviour against the Oscar-winning film and theatre producer.

He said he was "profoundly sorry" for the "pain" his behaviour had caused.

"Much has been written about my history of troubling interactions with colleagues," Rudin said in a statement published by The Washington Post on Saturday.

"After a period of reflection, I've made the decision to step back from active participation on our Broadway productions, effective immediately."

Billboard for The Music Man at New York's Winter Garden theatre
Foster is set to appear with Hugh Jackman in The Music Man later this year

Rudin's statement followed a story in the Hollywood Reporter earlier this month that contained several instances of his reportedly "volcanic" temper.

It alleged that he once smashed a computer monitor on his assistant's hand and that he threw a baked potato at another aide's head.

The same publication subsequently claimed its story had left Jackman "very concerned" about Rudin having a "visible role" in The Music Man.

It also claimed that Foster had threatened to leave the production if some action was not taken about the producer's involvement.

During an Instagram Live conversation with performer Beth Nicely on Sunday, Foster said she had "never had to deal with anything like this before".

"I feel like the only positive outcome is the one that happened," she continued, adding that Jackman felt "exactly the same way" as she did about the situation.

Sutton said she felt "honoured to be part of The Music Man", which is set to begin its run at New York's Winter Garden Theatre on 20 December.

"I can't wait to create an incredible, safe, inclusive, loving, amazing environment for everyone involved," said the two-time Tony-winning actress.

Hugh Jackman in 2018
Hugh Jackman at the 2018 opening night of To Kill a Mockingbird

According to the brother of one of Rudin's former assistants, though, Rudin's statement was no more than "a shrewd PR strategy to avoid real consequences".

In a video released on Sunday, David Graham-Caso said the producer had "berated and demeaned, bullied and harassed" his late twin Kevin "for eight solid months".

Mr Graham-Caso said he was speaking out to make sure the people who worked with Rudin knew he was "a bully" and "a small and petty person".

'Unacceptable silence'

The Hollywood Reporter's story about Rudin's alleged conduct has prompted widespread debate on the theatre industry's apparent complicity when allegations are made of bullying behaviour.

Last week actress Karen Olivo said she would not return to Broadway's Moulin Rouge! musical in protest against her industry's "unacceptable silence" on the subject.

Aaron Tveit and Karen Olivo
Olivo starred in Moulin Rouge! with Aaron Tveit (left)

"Building a better industry is more important than me putting money in my pockets," said the actress, whose show is not one of Rudin's productions.

Actress Rose McGowan was among those to applaud Olivo for taking a stand, writing on Twitter that she was "proud" of her fellow performer.

Rudin's many Broadway productions include The Book of Mormon and Aaron Sorkin's recent adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

That show is set to open at London's Gielgud Theatre next year, with Rafe Spall in the leading role as small-town lawyer Atticus Finch.

Sonia Friedman, the show's UK producer, confirmed Rudin was stepping aside from the show as well as The Book of Mormon's UK productions.

She said her company remained committed to both shows and that its focus was on "safeguarding all our productions" and the jobs of those involved.

Rudin is also the producer of such films as Lady Bird, The Social Network and No Country for Old Men, for which he won an Oscar in 2008.

He is also an executive producer on such TV shows as Devs and What We Do in the Shadows, which were broadcast in the UK on BBC Two.

The BBC has asked Rudin for comment.

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