Melissa Errico Comments on Being "Fired" From Classic Stage Company's Passion in Personal Blog

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12 Jun 2013

Melissa Errico
Melissa Errico

Tony Award nominee Melissa Errico was forced to withdraw from the Off-Broadway revival of Passion due to complications from bronchitis. The actress recently posted an in-depth blog on her website about the experience, which led to her termination from the acclaimed musical revival.

As previously reported by Playbill.com, Errico — who starred as Clara in the acclaimed CSC revival of the sung-through work by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine — was sidelined from the production in late March with bronchitis. A prolonged recovery period of 17 days, which included vocal rest on doctor's orders, kept Errico from returning to Passion, which ended its extended run April 19. Her vocal injury also prevented her from being part of the cast album.

In a blog dated May 26 — which recently surfaced publicly — the actress claimed, "I was not allowed back." She described the end of her journey with Passion, explaining that she wanted to return to the production and was cleared to sing by her doctor.

The actress told Playbill.com June 12 that she has recently undergone a successful vocal surgery.

An excerpt from her blog — following the news from her agent that a clause in her Off-Broadway Actors' Equity Association contract stated that ten days of work missed is cause for termination — follows:



"I wrote two quick emails to the beloved- by me- director (who lives in Italy) and to the Passion book writer (a trusted friend for 20 years, from Faust, Amour, Sunday in the Park…). In those emails, I implored them to not let me be kicked out of the company, telling them I was sure I had 10-12 performances in my body (turns out there were only 11 on the CSC reduced schedule anyway) and could finish the run with a reunited good feeling. I acknowledged my illness had been a drag, and if it was really punishable, I asked to be given an ultimatum date. I told them if I wasn't cleared Tuesday, I understood. Reconstructing this, I recall only fear sideswiping my mind… And weight. Please don't kick me out of the company this way. We have two weeks left, two weeks counts. In these past 2.6 weeks, I’ve built a meditation corner in my bedroom, I have gone to reiki twice a week, I’ve never spoken a word, never cheated, total silence, doctor's orders. I've gone to get strobes every 3 days, spending $950 a visit. I eat papaya every day since she says that the enzyme is good. I’ve researched homocysteine. You have no idea how many papayas I have eaten. The reiki master comes to my house, sits with Patrick and me in shock in the dark, with the kids asleep at 9pm; he took me to dinner, to a movie when my husband was away; he sends me emails late in the night about light and visualization. I have been visualizing. White vocal cords. Imagine yourself walking to the theater every night, stepping on the stage, do not give up Melissa. I asked them to be aware of what my agent was overhearing, in case they didn't know. I doubted I would reach them. Everything was surreal. My magical thinking denied that they knew anything. Think Melissa. I know how to be gracious, I can take a curtain call with Amy, even if I am in street clothes, but don’t talk to me about a clause, don't close the door. What was happening?? I didn't want to be removed from the family.

"Then, at 5:45pm, I got the text. From [co-star] Ryan [Silverman]. I erased everything from this time so it is my estimate that it said, 'We all just got an email that Amy is taking over for the rest of the run.'

"My heart stopped. The doctor hadn't brought us good news in the hallway, my milling family would soon hear, too.

"I showed it to Patrick. I started to flush, and feel sick. He said 'outrageous.' I typed, 'What? Outrageous,' and simultaneously got another text that said, 'They can't change their minds now.' Then… no more texting.

"It was like he knew somehow a quagmire had been hit. He had to sense I wasn't accepting this information (but what could he do?). I hadn't been telephoned. Patrick hadn't been called by CSC. Dr. Korovin, who treats Nathan Lane, Audra, Kristin, Ron Rifkin, Brooke Shields, etc. etc. etc., was never called. I texted her: 'I was fired.' She texted back: 'WHAT!!!!?????????'

"That was a very hard night.

"I think I might wait to tell you what else happened that night."

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For Errico's complete blog post, click here.