Okay, so I’m a hypocrite
|by Gina Dalfonzo|
I was happy to hear that a musical version of A Tale of Two Cities was coming to Broadway in the fall. A good one, too. I have the concept album -- not the one you can easily get off the show's website, either, but a really hard-to-find early version. Hey, it's Dickens plus Broadway. This is big stuff for me.
Now, I feel more than a little hypocritical about this. I'm the one who argued that Keisha Castle-Hughes's unwed pregnancy shouldn't turn people away from seeing The Nativity Story. And I still don't think it should.
But here you have a man who went to jail for molesting a minor -- and he has to stand on stage and sing a lullaby to a little girl. In front of an audience full of kids who will later be swarming the stage door to meet him, as people do at Broadway theaters. This is not a good situation.
And . . . well . . . this is Sydney Carton. Sydney Carton! This is the man I've been in love with since I was fifteen years old! I'll be honest, the whole thing makes me intensely uncomfortable. (But if you're thinking that anyone who's been in love with a fictional character for seventeen years has a few problems of her own, I won't deny you have a point.)
I'm certainly not arguing for ostracizing James Barbour for the rest of his life. Or even for forcing him to find another line of work. But truthfully, bringing him to Broadway in a family show where he's interacting directly with a child actress is asking for trouble -- not just for any children involved, but for him as well -- and I can't help thinking that the producers need to deal with it sooner rather than later, by recasting now. Keep in mind that he served a light sentence and that we've heard nothing about his undergoing any sort of treatment to get help for his problem. I notice that even the majority of theater fans on the Broadway message board I frequent, many of whom have seen, heard, and done it all and usually don't care who's doing what with whom, are calling for Barbour's removal. (As one of them commented, even worse than the lullaby scene would be Carton's big eleven o'clock number, titled "Let Her Be a Child." Ouch.)
Still, we believe -- and several here have said in the past -- that God's grace is for all, including sex offenders, and based on that, it's possible there are differing points of view on how to handle this situation. What do some of you think?