'The Ride Down Mt. Morgan' NewsBy Christian
June 5, 2000 - 11:23 PM
Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard) has been the source of some controversy over the past month. In late April, he shocked visitors of his new Broadway play 'The Ride Down Mt. Morgan' by unexpectedly denouncing the play's producers in a curtain speech. Stewart said he felt angry about what he perceived as a lack of publicity for the play, but in a disciplinary board meeting of the Actors Equity the Schubert Organisation, producers of the play, were able to show they had spent more than enough resources on promotion. Stewart recently delivered an official written apology, but apparently the producers didn't think this was enough, as their PR company Barlow-Hartman Public Relations recently sent out a press release containing details on the Actors Equity investigation.
Normally the proceedings and decision of Actors Equity boards are kept confidential, and they in fact had been until this press release. In it, we learn that Stewart had originally offered the producers "a lukewarm apology", but that this was rejected by both the Schubert Organisation and the Actors Equity as unacceptable, preferring a written apology. The full article, besides having more news on the Actors Equity board, also contains news that Stewart took a reduced fee at the outset of the show's run, preferring a share of box office takings. With the disappointing box office returns, this would seem to explain what motivated Stewart to attack the producers in this way.
Stewart himself is feeling very sorry over what happened. In an interview with Megan Turner of the New York Post, he says he "was mistaken to use the stage as a platform for my grievances - quite, quite wrong to do that". Stewart added that he was satisfied with the "fair and just" ruling of the Equity, and explained the reasons for his unusual curtain speech.
"[The curtain call tirade] came out of deep frustration and disappointment one Saturday morning," said Stewart. "It gave me quick gratification, and you've got to be very suspicious of things that give you quick gratification. [...] It's been a distraction I wish I hadn't had. I had not anticipated for one moment the extent of the shockwaves that would reverberate from it - the interest of the media, the opinions for and against of theater people and civilians. Maybe I was naive, but I was utterly unprepared for it. [...] I've had to sit here every night and just erase all that stuff [before going on stage]."
In the full article, Stewart talks about the effects of his tirade, leaving him with very strained relations with the Schubert Organisation. This is especially unfortunate as they apparently played a major role in every Broadway project Stewart has ever taken part in.
However, in the interview Stewart also talks about his personal life, saying that "it's very hard these days for me not to be happy." This is of course partly due to his upcoming marriage with former Trek producer Wendy Neuss, taking place in August. A photo of the couple has been sent out by AP, showing the two during the 54th Annual Tony Awards, where 'The Ride Down Mt. Morgan' was nominated for two awards.