Update: The Kansas City chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition has called off its planned boycott of the production of the Dustin Lance Black play, 8, after the producers of the show, to be performed on August 3 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, confirmed that controversial TV celebrity Jerry Springer had been removed from the cast. The statement from Nick Padgett, of Padgett Production, states that Springer "will not be involved in this benefit performance in any way." The original post follows.
Sandra Meade, a member of Kansas City's transgender community and the chairwoman of the Kansas City chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition (a Kansas-based nonprofit committed to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity), is waiting to hear that Jerry Springer has lost his role in a play coming to Kansas City on August 3.
Springer - former Ohio politician, actor and longtime host of a tabloid-style TV show - is slated to be in the cast of the Dustin Lance Black play 8, presented by the American Foundation for Equal Rights & Broadway Impacts as well as local theatrical producer Nick Padgett.
Meade says that's a problem.
"Jerry Springer has stripped much of the transgender community of their dignity, jeopardized their safety, and made it much harder to obtain their legal equality," Meade says, "thanks to the need to constantly battle the narrative of them being deceitful impostors and quacks that the Jerry Springer Show has willingly nurtured for over 20 years on public television."
So Meade plans to rally her supporters to boycott the show, scheduled for a one-night-only performance at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The performance (which has VIP tickets priced at $350 each) is also featuring - according to the Kauffman Center's website - Emmy-winning writer Bruce Vilanch and former One Life to Live actor Bruce Michael Hall.
"Nick Padgett told me that when he put out a casting call for the show, Jerry Springer was the first one to respond," Meade says. "Nick said that he had no previous knowledge of the horrible things that Jerry Springer has done to the gay and trans community over the years.
"I spoke with Nick Padgett last night and received an e-mail from him this morning," Meade adds. "I told him that I wouldn't cancel the boycott of the show until I received an official press release stating that Jerry Springer would not be in the show."
Padgett hasn't made that announcement publicly and has not returned calls from The Pitch.