Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Arts Reporting: Protests at City Theatre's Upcoming Production of The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told

UPDATE from Andy Berkovsky, May 12: "The latest is we are now receiving hundreds of the form protest email sent as postcards - crazy to see those on our doorstep yesterday. Our research pointed us to a website called American Need Fatima where these seem to be coming from. Yesterday, we received a call from a gentleman - Carl - who works for a Los Angeles online magazine called LA Progressive - laprogressive.com. He is doing an article on how this organization requests donations for "protest" and then make tons of money off of it. He is reporting how they made over 7 million over the past few years. And this group is very vocal in there opinion of helping to shut down shows mentioning the play Corpus Christi recently reconsidered from opening at Tarleton State and others. Why are we singled out? Not sure. Possibly, because we are a mainstream theatre group catering to the entire community rather than a specific group of people. Again, this campaign is not coming locally, all of the emails and postcards are from out of state."

UPDATE: Lisa Schepps of KOOP-FM interviews Andy Berkovsky, Producing Artistic Director of the City Theatre, concerning the protest letters, in the opening section of "Off Stage and On The Air," May 3

From Fox 7:

Local Theatre Threatened Over Play

Tuesday, 20 Apr

Austin, TX - An Austin theatre company says it's received numerous phone and e-mail threats over its upcoming production of The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, according to Austinonstage.com.

The show's artistic director, Andy Berkovsky, told the Website that the threats appear to be coming from a "religious source outside the Austin community." He also said the letters appear to be form emails with different names signed to each.

Austinonstage.com says one message claims that Catholics will oppose the show with "one of the largest and loudest peaceful and legal protest ever seen." Another said the play is abhorrent -- even though it's fiction.

The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told is a farce written by playwright Paul Rudnick. It's a retelling of the Bible with Adam and Steve, Jane and Mabel. The story starts at the beginning in the Garden of Eden and goes up to present day New York City.

Berkovsky issued a statement on behalf of the theatre:

The City Theatre Company respects the rights of individuals to voice dissent on any live theatre performance that we are producing. Whether that dissent is religious, social, or personal, we also value the right of any group in the arts community to express themselves freely, which allows us to produce works that we feel are appropriate for the theatre community. Good art sparks debate and The City Theatre will continue with the goal of quality presentations - entertaining, thought-provoking or otherwise. We urge everyone to see the play, any play. Then, after it is over, allow themselves the opportunity for opinion and discussion.

City Theatre Company will debut the show June 10.

Read more at AustinOnStage.com: Out of Town Protestors Make Threats Against Austin's City Theatre


  1. I would think the "religious sources" within Austin would be concerned as well. Would this sort of "artistic play" be tolerated if it was lampooning the Koran? If the playwriter truly knew the subject matter, this play would not have been written. "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do".

  2. The Oklahoma City University School of Theatre is hosting this perverted play just for shock value. This is the sad state that our society has come to, When you smell something that stinks over and over you get used to it after a while and it becomes acceptable, very sad.
    I agree with Teresa Lee's comment, she wrote very succinct and eloquently.