Controversial Broadway

NEW YORK (AP) — Despite death threats, an off-Broadway theater reversed itself Thursday and agreed to produce a controversial play about a gay Christlike figure.
“In our 25-year history, we have never censored a play nor turned a play down because of content,” Lynne Meadow, the Manhattan Theater Club’s artistic director, said at a news conference. “The only issue for us has been safety and security.”
Exact production dates of Terrence McNally’s “Corpus Christi” were not announced.
Meadow played a tape of one of the phone calls the theater received. The raspy, possibly computer-distorted voice was difficult to understand, but Meadow read a transcript of the message, which was addressed to McNally.
“Because of you we will exterminate every member of the theater and burn the place to the ground. This is a message from National Security Movement of America,” part of it said.
The group’s background was not immediately clear. The theater received many protests and five specific death threats, beginning on May 11, said Barry Grove, the theater’s executive producer.
Neither Meadow nor Grove would discuss the play’s subject matter, which, according to accounts in the New York Post, deals with a Christlike young man who has sex with his disciples.
“Wait for the production to be finished and on stage and, we assure you, the play will speak for itself,” Grove said. “You can come and judge for yourself when the play is on stage.”
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, which disavows violence, began a letter-writing campaign after reading the initial Post article.
“We will simply continue to publicly challenge their moral right to put on something that is this offensive to Christians,” Rick Hinshaw, a league spokesman, said Thursday after learning of the theater club’s latest decision.