Actor's Equity has determined that they will not allow Euan Morton, the Tony-nominated star of the musical Taboo, permission to portray the title role in the New York Musical Theatre Festival production of the new musical Caligula.
Plans for the production, which is scheduled to open September 14 at the Theatre At St. Clements as part of the Festival's Next Link Project, have been temporarily put on hold. Morton, who is Scottish and therefore must be granted permission to perform in Equity productions, came to the project after the originally announced Kevin Cahoon, who played the role in a May, 2004 reading, was forced to withdraw due to schedule conflicts.
A production spokesperson has issued the following statement: "It is with great regret that we announce that, due to an Equity determination, Euan Morton will be unable to appear in the NYMF production of Caligula. It is a disappointment not only to the members of the creative team and to Mr. Morton, who graciously agreed to perform on this small scale because he believes in the show and the process of creating new work, but also to fans of Mr. Morton who have been eagerly anticipating his return to the New York stage, and the twenty other cast members who were to have performed alongside him. That Equity would bar someone of Euan's caliber and notoriety and who has been so warmly received and recognized for his work in this country is distressing to all of us who are dedicated to working with the union to create new shows and new jobs for its members."
The production is still slated to open as scheduled, pending casting. The producers hope to use the Festival as a means of launching a commercial production of the large-scale rock musical, which tells the life story of the titular Roman emperor in the style of a 1970s glam rock epic. The piece, by writer/composer Eric Svejcar, was a finalist for the 2003 Richard Rodgers Awards and was recently performed in concert at the Zipper Theatre in NYC.
Information courtesy of www.caligulathemusical.com