Craig Bierko, the male lead of the new Susan Stroman-Harry Connick-David Thompson Broadway musical Thou Shalt Not, has been out of the show since opening night, reportedly due to an injury sustained during that performance. Word was that he needed to be on complete vocal rest in order to return to the show as soon as possible. But an eyewitness tells me that the actor had dinner with a friend at a popular restaurant last night (October 30) and "talked a blue streak" during the meal. When someone asked him about this, Bierko explained that the damage was to the upper register of his voice. His ability to speak normally was noted by several diners, one of whom is said to have dubbed him "the Martine McCutcheon of Broadway"--a reference to the star of the current London revival of My Fair Lady, who missed a large number of shows due to reported vocal problems but was seen out on the town on performance nights.
Barbara Carroll, a press representative for Thou Shalt Not, described reports of Bierko's restaurant appearance as "unsubstantiated." Carroll said that she was aware of the supposed sighting (and hearing) because news of it had been posted by someone in the "All That Chat" section of the website www.talkinbroadway.com--someone who went on to suggest that "maybe the reviews forced his hiatus?" Though Bierko's performance in particular did not receive terrible notices, Thou Shalt Not was generally trounced by most of the major critics.
Carroll confirmed that Bierko was injured during the opening night performance of the show when he was accidentally struck in the throat by co-star Norbert Leo Butz during a fight scene. "At first he thought he was fine," says Carroll, "but, the next morning, he was bleeding from the mouth. He went to see a doctor who told him that the injury would take at least a week to heal. His next visit to the doctor is imminent, so we're waiting to hear the status." Bierko's personal publicist, Leslie Sloane, was out sick today (October 31) and unavailable for comment.
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