In watching back the “Oprah Where Are They Now” interview that aired on OWN October 30, I feel that certain statements I made generalized a community that I care for immensely. For that, I apologize to anyone in the Broadway community who felt disrespected. What many of you may not know is this interview came just days after Prince’s passing and I was asked about my thoughts on his alleged accidental overdose. Through the magic of editing, the context was not included. I was extremely emotional about that tragic event and went off on tangents born of emotionalism that may have been more extreme and harsher than I intended. It made me reflect on my own journey and those I am close to and all of us who do not want to wake up to find out another legend has been lost. This is why I opened this dialogue.
I have nothing but respect and love for the Broadway community and a sincere compassion for the demands it places on performers, which is why I was extremely open about my own path with everything from Xanax to Zantac to Prednisone. A lot of these seemingly harmful meds mask deeper issues that show up later in life. I did not mean to imply that everyone on stage is reliant on substances to deliver the amazing performances I have witnessed first hand. This is not aimed at anyone in particular. It is not aimed at anyone at all. Anyone who chooses to hold a mirror up to themselves can, if they wish, and maybe make some positive changes. It is so easy to sit home and react on social media, but viewing life in sound bites, and in a restricted number of characters, does not always relay the full story, so I do hope this clarifies things, whether it changes your opinion or not. I respect all viewpoints and they are always welcome, and taken in, and I too learn from them, and deeply ponder my own words and actions.
Those who know me, and with whom I’ve shared the stage, will surely know these comments were not malicious. I was driving the point home there is a standard in sports and there is not in entertainment. It’s a very gray area, as I am all for individual rights, as long as no one is hurting anyone else, but, I do care ultimately if people are hurting themselves in order to “deliver.” I am finally, finally, at the point where I cannot sacrifice my health to do so. It’s a personal choice.
This is an epidemic that deserves attention and I’m not use to being candid to the point of controversy, but something in me clearly felt the problem is very real for so many that it deserved to be talked about. I encourage an ongoing dialogue and for our community to take care of its own.