Tony winner and Oscar nominee Hugh Jackman has spoken out in regards to Scott Rudin's decision to step away from projects on Broadway and in Hollywood. In a statement provided to The New York Times (as shared on Twitter by Michael Paulson), the actor, who is to star in the upcoming production of The Music Man, applauded those who came forward about the producer's abuse and bullying, and called Rudin's voice "the most important" in a healing journey.
"I want to say how much I respect and applaud the people that have spoken up about their experience working with Scott Rudin," says Jackman (The Boy From Oz, Les Misérables). "It takes an enormous amount of courage and strength to stand up and state your truth. This has started a conversation that is long overdue, not just on Broadway, and the entertainment industry, but across all workforce. The most important voice we needed to hear from was Scott Rudin, he has now spoken up and stepped away from The Music Man. I hope and pray this is a journey of healing for all the victims and the community. We are currently rebuilding the Music Man team and are aspiring to create an environment that is not only safe but ensures that everyone is seen, heard, and valued. This is something that is and has always been very important to me."
Calls for accountability grew after an April 7 cover story by The Hollywood Reporter detailed a number of accounts of inappropriate behavior. Ten days later, Rudin announced he was stepping back from Broadway productions. Three days after, the The Book of Mormon and To Kill a Mockingbird producer also confirmed he’d be removing himself for involvement in any film and TV projects. The details of what this move entails have yet to be revealed.
Fallout from the report has included Tony winner Karen Olivo announcing she will not return to Broadway's Moulin Rouge! partially in protest of the industry's collective silence in response to the Rudin allegations, and director Rob Roth resigning from an upcoming production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast after a supportive email to Rudin was made public.
A march led by artists and activists demanding measures to ensure legitimate accountability, as well as safe workplaces and equity for BIPOC and other underrepresented artists, is planned for April 22.
Jackman is also slated to take part in the NY PopsUP festival this year, another theatrical project that was being produced by Rudin. It's unclear what the star's involvement would be, but recent performances have included socially distant, in-person concerts at the St. James Theatre with Savion Glover and Nathan Lane and at the Broadway Theatre with Amber Iman (all three veterans of Rudin-produced Broadway productions).
The Music Man, with Jackman as Harold Hill and Foster as Marian Paroo, is slated to begin performances at the Winter Garden Theatre December 20 prior to a February 10, 2022, opening. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the Jerry Zaks-helmed revival was slated to begin in fall 2020. The cast is also expected to include Tony winners Jayne Houdyshell, Jefferson Mays, Shuler Hensley, and Marie Mullen.