Days after bashing Karen Olivo in a leaked email to allegedly abusive producer Scott Rudin, director Rob Roth is stepping down from this summer’s U.K. and Ireland tour of Beauty and the Beast. The Stage first reported on April 19 that the director, who helmed the original 1994 Broadway production, would not direct the tour. Roth also confirmed the email he sent to Rudin. Someone sitting near Roth on an April 16 flight saw him sending an email to Rudin, saying the producer should receive “an honorary Tony for somehow getting that horrible woman to quit acting,” in reference to Olivo, who announced she would not return to Moulin Rouge! over the Broadway world not speaking out over claims of Rudin’s abuse. “I see now that the sentiments included in a private email that went public were thoughtless and insensitive, and I am profoundly sorry that my comments have caused unintended pain,” Roth told the Stage. “I deeply regret making light of bullying, which I know to be a horrible experience.” Disney Theatrical told the Stage that original Beauty and the Beast choreographer Matt West would now direct the tour.
Rudin, an EGOT winner and widely seen as one of Broadway’s most powerful producers, was accused of abusing his staff for years in an April 7 Hollywood Reporter cover story. One assistant claimed he smashed a computer monitor on their hand in 2012, sending them to the emergency room, while another reportedly said Rudin threw a baked potato at them in 2018. On April 17, Rudin announced he would “step back” from his current Broadway productions. The day after, Sutton Foster, set to star in Rudin’s upcoming revival of The Music Man, said the move was “the only positive outcome” of the situation. Rudin has since announced he will also be “stepping back” from his film work, although it is unclear what that will entail in either theater or film.
Correction: This story originally included a photo of the film and music video director Rob Roth. It has been updated with a photo of the theater director Rob Roth.