‘Chicago’ producers call in lawyer after cast member’s suicide
The producers of long-running Broadway musical “Chicago” called an emergency cast meeting on Friday night, Page Six has learned, to address the crisis set in motion by the suicide of one of its actors.
Pals of Jeff Loeffelholz — who had been a member of the cast for 22 years and died June 29 — claimed that he took his own life because he had been “bullied” by the show’s directors. We’re told that producers Fran and Barry Weissler spoke first at the meeting, “to express their deep sadness about the tragedy,” and then introduced attorney Judd Burstein, who has been hired to look into the allegations.
Friends behind the Justice for Jeff campaign claim that the production wanted Loeffelholz — a standby actor — out of the cast, but his contract prevented them from firing him. So, the campaign claims, they subjected him to a harrowing rehearsal in an attempt to get him to quit.
Burstein told us of the Friday meeting, “I informed [the cast] that I had been retained to conduct an investigation, and that I wanted to speak to everyone who had knowledge of what occurred with respect to Mr. Loeffelholz’s death, as well as anyone who wanted to speak to me about anything else concerning ‘Chicago.’ ”
He told us he hopes to have the probe wrapped up within two weeks, adding that his investigation is entirely independent from the Weisslers. He said, “My obligation here is to find the truth about what happened without regard to the consequences which flow from my finding.”
Meanwhile, the Justice for Jeff blog published texts that they claim Loeffelholz sent to a friend after the June 22 rehearsal. In one, they claim he wrote, “[Director Walter Bobbie] was Brutal and I feel like it was a set up directed towards me personally! They made me do the song about 5 times. At one point he got mad and walked out.”
When we contacted Bobbie for comment last week, he told us, “I am saddened by Jeff’s tragic passing, for him and for his family.”
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