There was a death on Broadway last night and you might be surprised to learn that it did not happen at accident-prone Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. A stagehand reportedly succumbed to a drug overdose in a bathroom at the Al Hirschfeld Theater right before last night’s performance of the Daniel Radcliffe musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The start of the show was postponed a few times before Radcliffe and co-star John Laroquette came on stage to announce the cancelation of last night’s performance. It was only after the theater was cleared that it was revealed that the stagehand death was the cause of the cancelation.
The Wednesday night performance of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” on Broadway was canceled after a stagehand died from what the police said was a drug overdose he suffered backstage. The episode did not involve any safety issues or accidents related to the production, according to a person working on the musical and a theater industry executive familiar with what happened. The two people spoke on the condition of anonymity in deference to the show’s producers and the stagehands’ union. The theater industry executive said it was a “personal tragedy unrelated to the show.” “It was a stagehand who had done something terrible to himself,” the theater industry executive said. “Apparently it happened in a bathroom backstage, and it was very, very serious.” According to the police, the stagehand, a 29-year-old man, was found unconscious and in cardiac arrest backstage shortly before 8 p.m. He was rushed to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital nearby, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. A police spokesman said that there was no criminality suspected and that investigators believed the man died from an overdose. The stagehand’s name was withheld pending notification of the family, said a statement from a spokesman for the production. The stagehand was taken from the theater by ambulance while hundreds of audience members were still in their seats, said one of them, Suzanne Jewell, by telephone Wednesday night. A spokesman for the Broadway stagehands’ union declined to comment on Wednesday night … At about 9 p.m. the two stars of the show, Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette, stepped out on stage to address the audience, who were there to see what would have been the show’s 100th performance. Audience members said they could tell by Mr. Radcliffe’s and Mr. Larroquette’s tone that something grave had happened. “They said they debated it for a long time, and that there was a tragedy and they didn’t feel comfortable performing,” said one audience member, Barbara Germain. Ms. Jewell said they were both very emotional. “The two of them said they had mulled it over whether to go on with the show,” she said. “They apologized to everyone, but said it wouldn’t be fair to us because they would not have been able to give a good performance.” An audience member then audibly asked about what had happened backstage. According to Ms. Jewell, Mr. Radcliffe replied that it was “personal” and that they did not want to say more.
Wow … what a tragic loss. It is completely understandable that the show had to be cancelled … I cannot, for the life of me, imagine how anyone could just brush aside a death in order to sing and dance on stage in front of a sold out audience. Ugh … this is such sad news. Just say no to drugs, people. It’s just not worth it :(