A pregnancy can be seen as a lot of things. Unexpected, a blessing, even a planned bundle of joy. But can it be considered an accident? Or worst yet, an illness? Even if the mother-to-be is 6-time Tony Award winning actress Audra McDonald and said pregnancy forces her to leave the multimillion dollar hit Broadway musical SHUFFLE ALONG, OR THE MAKING OF THE MUSICAL SENSATION OF 1921 AND ALL THAT FOLLOWED after only four months?”
That’s the $12 million question being debated by the Scott Rudin and the other producers of SHUFFLE ALONG. They filed a lawsuit on November 3rd against Lloyd’s of London, the insurance company covering any losses the show might incur. The suit claims that due to the physical strain of tap dancing, Ms. McDonald’s physician recommended she go on maternity leave to insure a healthy pregnancy, returning to the show after the pregnancy. However, since McDonald was the biggest star in the show – other Broadway luminaries in the SHUFFLE ALONG cast included recent Tony winners Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter – a suitable replacement was hard to find that would be as big a box office draw, therefore, the producers unwillingly had to close the show, and filed a claim requiring Lloyd’s to cover all financial obligations and repay all of the advance ticket sales. They justified it by using a clause that cover accidents or an illness that would impair the production going forward in any way. Lloyd’s refuses to see a pregnancy as an accident or illness.
To learn more about this – including Audra McDonald’s reaction – click on the links below.