A standout Broadway star has filed suit against the producers of the hit play Come From Away, saying that they tied him to conservative Christianity and “canceled” him out of the production.
The play’s producers also linked Chad Kimball to people and events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life gathered to protest a flawed and to all appearances stolen presidential election.
Page Six reports that the lawsuit claims producers “unlawfully terminated [him] wholly or partly because [his] religious beliefs simply made them uncomfortable.” The suit also alleges that the “failure to re-hire” Kimball, 45, after 1,100 performances “was based wholly or partly upon [his] religious faith.”
Kimball describes himself in the court documents as “a devout and practicing Christian” who joined the Come From Away cast in 2016. The suit says that Kimball had also starred in Memphis and “became more outspoken regarding his beliefs” after he was injured in that show in 2010 and subsequently credited “his recovery to his faith.”
When COVID had shut down Broadway, in November 2020, Kimball made headlines in his hometown of Seattle after tweeting that he’d “respectfully disobey” the state’s COVID-inspired limitations religious services. The actor had already been positive for the virus, and he tweeted at the time: “Respectfully, I will never allow a Governor, or anyone, to stop me from SINGING, let alone sing in worship to my God. Folks, absolute POWER corrupts ABSOLUTELY. This is not about safety. It’s about POWER. I will respectfully disobey these unlawful orders.”
He later elaborated on the tweet: “To be clear: nobody is going maskless. The overreach – in my opinion! – is not being able to sing even WITH a mask. No singing WITH a mask ON. Everyone will continue wearing masks. With respect and with hope and with care.”
The lawsuit filed this week in New York State Supreme Court alleges that the November tweet led at least partly to Kimball’s expulsion from the play.
The Tony nominee claimed that a producer for Come From Away contacted him on Jan. 18 and allegedly “informed Mr. Kimball that there was a question regarding Mr. Kimball’s belief as a ‘Conversative [sic] Christian’ as there was a conversation around Mr. Kimball’s ‘freedom to believe’ in what he believes.”
Court docs have Kimball asserting that the same producer “expressed concerns the Defendants had about Mr. Kimball’s ‘beliefs,’ stating, in sum and substance, that the events at the Capitol, [Sen.] Josh Hawley and the Conservative Christian movement were tied together and implied a connection between Mr. Kimball, by virtue of his faith, to the ideas and actions of the Jan. 6, 2021, events at the US Capitol.”