Jagged Little Pill star quits Broadway musical citing transphobia allegations against producers

Broadway star Antonio Cipriano originated the role of Phoenix in musical

Isobel Lewis
Monday 27 September 2021 14:17
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<p>Cipriano in 2019</p>

Cipriano in 2019

Broadway star Antonio Cipriano has quit the Alanis Morisette musical Jagged Little Pill over the producers’ alleged mistreatment of transgender actors.

The stage production has been at the centre of controversy in recent months related to the character of Jo, who was written as nonbinary when the show was in previews but later became a cisgender woman.

While the show’s producers admitted this and apologised earlier this month, a number of the show’s former stars said that they had been “gaslit” over the casting.

Cipriano, who originated the role of Phoenix in the production, performed with the cast at the Tony Awards on Sunday (26 September) night. Jagged Little Pill was nominated for 15 awards, including Best Musical.

However, the 21-year-old announced on Twitter that the performance would be his last with the show.

“I have to acknowledge the harm that many trans + non-binary, and all marginalised folks, on-stage cast members and off have endured through the years,” he wrote.

“Broadway should be a safe space for everyone to create and experience art. All artists deserve to exist fully and authentically. As a member of the community, I recognise my privilege and take responsibility for being part of the harm caused.”

Cipriano continued: “Representation, mental and physical health are extremely important. I’m hopeful for a more equitable future where the right changes and protection are put into action. I am lucky and grateful to be a part of this community and I am hopeful to see what change we as a collective can make going forward.”

Another cast member, Celia Gooding, announced last week that they would also be leaving the production after the Tonys for similar reasons.

“I cannot ignore the harm Jagged has done to the trans and non-binary community, including cast members on stage, off stage, and behind the scenes in the production-making process,” they wrote.

Jagged Little Pill took home two awards at the Tonys, with Diablo Cody winning for Best Book of a Musical and Lauren Patten, who originated the role of Jo, taking home the prize for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.

In her acceptance speech, Patten thanked her “trans and nonbinary friends and colleagues” for engaging with her in “difficult conversations”.

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