February is Teen Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You might wonder why this is posted on the page where information for Phantom of the Opera is usually found. On February 9, James Barbour started his run as the Phantom, taking over for Norm Lewis. His casting in the show was controversial and met with a huge backlash from the PoTO fan community. You can read why fans were upset here and get more details of Barbour’s charges here.
Some Broadway bloggers have eloquently spoken out against the casting, but Phantom of the Opera has stood by its decision and Barbour has started his run in the show. I will not be attending PoTO so long as Barbour is in the show, but I also realize that petitioning the show to recast the part will not do any good at this point. The message has already been sent, loud and clear, that rape culture is alive and well on Broadway despite many prominent stage actors participating in the #NoMore campaign. Instead of continuing to fight a losing battle with this casting, I have chosen to turn the Phantom of the Opera show page into a resources page for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. If you or anyone you know has been a victim, please click through to the links below, and support organizations that listen and believe female and male survivors, rather than make excuses.
Love Is Respect – Call 1-866-331-9474 for their help line. Their website also provides live chat and resources for survivors and allies.
The HERO Project – Resources on how to report child sexual abuse. You can also call CHILDLINE at 1-800-932-0313.
1 in 6 – Resources for male survivors of sexual abuse