A standby cast member of Broadway’s Chicago for 22 years took his life last month. Director Walter Bobbie and the musical director Leslie Stifelman are being accused of harassing the actor to quit the show after more than two decades, instead of buying out what was left on this contract.
Jeff Loeffelhotz was a standby for the Broadway show form 22 years and according to written notes by Loeffelhotz it appears that the final rehearsal where it appeared Bobbie and Stifelman crossed the line. He was a standby for the part of Mary Sunshine and was available to fill in where ever need, even in the middle to of show.
Friends have since started a “Justice for Jeffrey” campaign using notes from the actor to highlight what may have happened. “For over 8,900 performances he was ready to go on at a moment’s notice, rush to the theater, and perform the role, sometimes midshow. Jeff was so dedicated to the show, that during the run he and his longtime partner, Peter De La Cruz, moved to be closer to the Ambassador. Jeff’s knowledge was integral to Chicago to the point that recently he was phoned and asked about the location of a prop for another actor’s rehearsal.”
Here is a detailed recount of what appeared to have happened, found on his blog:
According to Loeffelholz’s own handwritten notes after the rehearsal, he went upstairs where he greeted the dance captain with a hug and the usual pleasantries and when asked how he was, he replied he was great but he was “ready to rehearse.”
In light of the allegations the producers of the show have retained lawyers and held an emergency meeting with the cast.