New York theater ends pro-life play over abortion comedy, cites ‘safety’ concerns

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A New York theater near Broadway has shut down a pro-life play detailing the trial of convicted murderer and abortionist Kermit Gosnell that was to run concurrently with an abortion comedy produced in part by the filmmaker’s theater company Hollywood JJ Abrams. The playwright behind the pro-life production, Phelim McAleer, said the cancellation was censorship and “preventing” people from hearing both sides of the issues surrounding abortion.

“I want people to go see both [plays] and come to their own conclusions, which Theater Row wants to deprive people of – that ability to hear all the facts. What are they afraid of?” McAleer told Fox News Digital in a Tuesday morning phone interview.

Poster “Oh Gosnell: The Truth About Abortion”
(Phelim McAleer)


The game “Oh Gosnell: The Truth About Abortionis described as a “textual play about the horrors of abortion” and was set to debut on Theater Row in New York City the same night as “Oh My God, A Show About Abortion”. The “Oh My God” play is featured by comedian Ilana Glazer, best known for her role on the Comedy Central show “Broad City,” and produced in part by Bad Robot Live, the theatrical arm of JJ Abrams’ production company Bad Robot.

Ilana Glazer attends Comedy Central Press Day 2019 on January 11, 2019 in Hollywood, California.

Ilana Glazer attends Comedy Central Press Day 2019 on January 11, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
(Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

But last Thursday, McAleer’s Unreported Story Society received a letter from attorneys retained by Theater Row’s parent company breaking an agreement to host the play. The letter has been reviewed by Fox News Digital and states that “the subject matter” of Gosnell’s piece is “inappropriate for children” and that they are “concerned for the safety of our staff and neighbors” about the room.

McAleer said allegations of concern about “security” are “the new censorship.”

“Safety is the new thing,” McAleer said.

The lawyers’ letter added that “material information has been withheld in a manner that constitutes fraud” and that the “contents of the exhibit violate essential terms” of the agreement.

McAleer told Fox News Digital that “they didn’t explain what the fraud was all about,” and added that Theater Row “went off” last Wednesday and the cancellation “completely fell out of the blue. “.

Phelim McAleer talks on Fox News about pro-life White House screening "Gosnel" amid the abortion debate in 2019.

Phelim McAleer speaks on Fox News about the White House screening of the pro-life film “Gosnell” amid the abortion debate in 2019.

Theater Row’s website details that it has hosted other shows with disclaimers stating that a certain performance is not suitable for young children, including “H*tler’s Tasters”, which is described as a play that “explores how girls navigate sexuality, friendship, patriotism and poison during the Third Reich”.

When asked why Theater Row would cancel Gosnell’s play, but launch “H*tler’s Tasters”, McAleer replied that it was “because they are very happy to sexualize the girls, but they are not happy to have an honest artistic exploration of the issues surrounding abortion.”


Fox News Digital sent requests for comment to Theater Row representatives on the cancellation but did not receive a response.

Despite the cancellation, “Oh Gosnell: The Truth About Abortion” will continue. The play will run from April 29 to May 15, with the official opening night on May 5 at the Chain Studio Theater.

“Oh God: A Show About Abortion” is also set to open on May 5 and will run from April 25 to June 4. McAleer told Fox News Digital he saw the abortion comedy on Monday night and said it was “high on the anecdote” but didn’t say much about abortion.

“For – as they say – an abortion show, it talks very little about abortion,” McAleer said, noting that the production “dances around the subject,” while his production, hits “the subject squarely on the subject.” the head”.


McAleer’s play, which is directed by LA director David Atkinson, is a text-based performance, meaning it draws on trial testimony and interviews with Kermit Gosnell.

Gosnell is a former Philadelphia doctor who was convicted in 2013 of murdering three babies born alive at an abortion clinic, as well as convicted of the manslaughter of an adult patient who received a fatal dose of sedatives. He was also convicted of 21 counts of unlawful late-term abortion and 211 counts of violating Pennsylvania’s 24-hour informed consent law. He is serving two life sentences.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is seen during an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News on March 8, 2010.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is seen during an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News on March 8, 2010.
(AP Photo/Philadelphia Daily News, Yong Kim, file)

“People talk in trials under oath. They can’t tell stories unless they’re backed up by evidence. So JJ Abrams’ play is full of stories without evidence. Ours is actually all the opposite. The stories you’ll be hearing are fully supported by evidence and facts,” McAleer said.

Director JJ Abrams arrives at the China premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Shanghai on December 27, 2015.

Director JJ Abrams arrives at the Chinese premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in Shanghai on December 27, 2015.
(Reuters/Aly Song)

McAleer and his wife Ann McElhinney wrote the national bestseller “Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer” in 2017. A film adaptation of the book, starring Dean Cain, was released in 2018.


Abrams’ agent did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the matter.