In today’s New York Times, Patrick Healy recounts the ordeal this spring that led playwright Deb Margolin to pull her play Imagining Madoff from Theater J’s 2010-2011 season. The occasion for the article? Imagining Madoff is premiering tomorrow, in revised form, at Stageworks/Hudson in Hudson, N.Y. The original version included a fictionalized Elie Wiesel, who objected to his portrayal and threatened legal action. In the new version, the Wiesel character has been renamed.
If you read the story Ted Scheinman and I wrote for Washington City Paper or the Washington Post‘s coverage, the Times story won’t tell you much, save this: While Ari Roth, Theater J’s artistic director, told me in May that he planned to open the 2011-2012 season with Imagining Madoff, he now considers a Theater J production of the play to be “indefinitely postponed.” But he says he’ll see the Stageworks/Hudson production and will consider Inagining Madoff for a Theater J performance in the future.
Margolin offered no thoughts on the matter, Healy writes: “The playwright, meanwhile, sidestepped most questions to which she might have said something critical — about Theater J, about First Amendment protections for playwrights and especially about Mr. Wiesel, whose name did not cross her lips during two hours of conversation.”