Posicionarnos SEM y Marketing en buscadores Overture Center cuts ties with former TV, Broadway star Tom Wopat in wake of sexual assault allegations

Overture Center cuts ties with former TV, Broadway star Tom Wopat in wake of sexual assault allegations


Madison’s Overture Center announced Monday that it will cut ties with Tom Wopat, the Lodi native and former TV star for whom Overture’s regional Tommy Awards program for youth talent was named.

Wopat, 66, who achieved fame in the 1980s action/comedy series “The Dukes of Hazzard” and went on to a Broadway career, faces charges he groped an adult female cast member and indecently assaulted a 16-year-old girl while rehearsing for the musical “42nd Street” at a theater near Boston, the Boston Globe reported late last month.

“Given the recent news surrounding Mr. Wopat, Overture Center for the Arts has severed all ties with him and will be moving forward with discussions for the high school musical awards program’s name,” said a statement from Overture Center.

However, the program will continue to be known as the Tommy Awards at least into mid-2018, Overture officials said.

Live shows headlined by Wopat scheduled for this fall and winter at the Janesville Performing Arts Center and Stoughton Opera House were recently canceled.

Overture’s decision “is a moral dilemma for me because I am a strong believer in (presumed innocence) — and we should be in this day and age,” said Tim Sauers, vice president of programming and community engagement for Overture, who created the Tommy Awards nine years ago to encourage and honor excellence in high school musical theater.

“But the allegations against (Wopat) have just been building,” Sauers said. “Even if he comes off innocent, it’s tarnished our program.”

Sauers said news of the allegations against Wopat nearly brought him to tears because “I love this program and I love the kids, and I love everybody who’s involved with this.”

At the launch of the Tommy Awards, Wopat agreed to let Overture use his name, but he has not participated in or supported the program financially, according to the performing arts center.

The Tommy Awards program sends skilled reviewers to see high school musical theater productions and rate them. The top shows and performers are honored at an annual awards gala in Overture’s Overture Hall.

In the 2016-17 season, the judges viewed 87 musical theater productions at 82 Wisconsin schools in 23 counties, according to the Overture Center. More than 400 students performed in the annual Tommy Awards ceremony.

The wealth of regional talent discovered through the Tommy Awards program led to the creation of the Tommy Ensemble, a performance group of top high school musical theater talent.

The next Tommy Awards will be on June 10, 2018, and the name will remain until then, Sauers said.

Program partners, alumni, schools and others will be consulted as the program is re-named, he said.

“We want to do this in a very thoughtful, inclusive way, and we see that rolling out after the end of our fiscal year” on June 30, he said.

With news of the first allegations, Overture Center removed Wopat’s signature from electronic media and contacted him by email about the change, Sauers said.

Emails and phone calls to Wopat’s publicist and management by the State Journal were not immediately returned.

      This content was originally published here.


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