Threatening letters critical of the interracial marriage between a Tony Award-winning white actress in the Broadway smash "Wicked" and Taye Diggs, a popular black film and TV actor, have sparked a NYPD probe and an increase in security at the famed Gershwin Theatre, sources said.
One of the letters "threatens bodily harm to Taye Diggs," according to a police source. That letter was received Wednesday by Jed Bernstein, president of the League of American Theaters and Producers, the industry's major trade group, with offices on West 47th Street.
Sources said that before Wednesday, two other handwritten letters were sent to the Gershwin Theatre, on West 51st Street, addressed to Diggs' wife, Idina Menzel, who stars there in "Wicked," a revisionist look at the "Wizard of Oz."
"The letters go on and on about their marriage," a second source says. "They say they're each a sellout to their race."
The case is being investigated by the NYPD's Hate Crimes Unit. As of last night, police said it was not clear who sent the letters.
One letter is postmarked Ohio, another Philadelphia and the third New York. Police do not believe the same person sent all three letters.
Bernstein did not respond to a request for a comment yesterday. Bob Fennell, a spokesman for the production, would not talk about the letters, but did say security is a top priority.
"We take the security of everyone connected to the production very, very seriously," he said.
Menzel, who won a Tony this year for her role in "Wicked" as Elphaba the witch, married Diggs Jan. 11, 2003. Diggs stars in UPN's "Kevin Hill," in which he plays the title character, a lawyer. The couple met in 1996 when they appeared in the Broadway musical "Rent."
Neither Diggs nor Menzel could be reached for comment.
A letter-writing racist mailed a hate-filled death threat to actor Taye Diggs, threatening "burn" and "castrate" the African-American actor because of his interracial marriage to Broadway star Idina Menzel, police sources said.
In addition to the malicious missive sent to Diggs, the writer has also penned at least two noxious notes making "negative remarks" about Menzel and her marriage — and threatening to burn down the Gershwin Theatre, where she stars in the musical "Wicked."
The details of the Diggs threat, which was sent to Broadway honcho Jed Bernstein, were not released.
But a police source said the letter threatened the "How Stella Got Her Grove Back" star with "bodily harm," called him a "sellout," and, most disturbingly, declared that the sick sender "wanted to burn him and castrate him."
Some years ago, I did a show (Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party) which featured both Taye and Idina, and I found them both to be very talented and very good people to work with. (In fact, the entire cast of that show, which also starred Julie Murney and Brian d'Arcy James, was one of the nicest groups of people I've ever worked with). For them to be threatened in this way is sick, and absolutely counter to everything this country stands for.
I certainly hope that the results of the recent election haven't emboldened the bigots and racists of this country into thinking that they can do this kind of thing with impunity.
Taye and Idina, I'm sending you all my good thoughts.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
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Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
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Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
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Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
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Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.