Following promises to “step back” from Broadway productions and film projects, Scott Rudin says he will resign from the Broadway League, the trade organization that represents Broadway producers, theatre owners, and other industry leaders. His absence smooths the way forward for unions that are locked in bargaining agreements with the League to prevent members from working with the producer.
Rudin’s decision was reported by The New York Times two days after a “March on Broadway,” led by actors and activists, demanded accountability for the troubled industry titan and transparency from Actors’ Equity on steps to ensure safe work environments upon theatres’ reopening. The League has not yet commented on the matter. In addition to Rudin’s ousting from the League, the cohort offered a less specific request: restorations from the producer in the form of a “large sum” of money to 20 BIPOC-led theatre companies.
The Times piece echoes and adds to The Hollywood Reporter and New York Magazine’s reports of Rudin’s abusive behavior toward interns, assistants, and staff members. Additionally, the new report depicts instances of intimidation and vindictiveness aimed at talent, including actor Rita Wilson (who had appeared in the Rudin-produced Fish in the Dark) and playwrights Adam Rapp and Sarah Ruhl. Wilson cited Rudin’s insensitivity around her breast cancer diagnosis at the time of the production; plans for Rudin to produce Rapp’s The Sound Inside and Ruhl’s Becky Nurse of Salem became collateral damage in a feud with their agent Mark Subias. (The former did open on Broadway in 2019 via producer Jeffrey Richards, and the latter is expected to make its New York debut at Lincoln Center Theater.)
What remains unclear is who exactly will take Rudin’s place as key decision makers in his productions, which include the upcoming revivals of The Music Man and Our Town as well as the Broadway productions of To Kill a Mockingbird, West Side Story, and The Book of Mormon that were running up until the coronavirus shutdown. While echoing his previous assertion that other producers will replace him on these shows, Rudin has not yet offered specifics regarding his own financial responsibilities or profits from these titles moving forward.
Rudin was also a leading organizer of New York State’s “PopsUp” program, presenting performances in a variety of socially distanced venues (including some Broadway theatres) and outdoor spaces as a signal of arts and culture’s post-pandemic revitalization. The festival said April 23 that Rudin had stepped down from managing the program three weeks ago—around the time of The Hollywood Reporter’s initial exposé on Rudin’s longstanding behavior.