THEATER DISTRICT, Manhattan — This was not the opening overture theatergoers expected at “West Side Story” tonight.
“Hey, hey! No, no! That Amar has got to go” they chanted.
Close to 30 demonstrators we’re protesting that a New York City ballet dancer, Amar Ramasar, is starring in this Broadway revival less than two years after he was fired then reinstated in one of Ballet’s most infamous #metoo moments.
Ramasar is being sued by a former ballet student, Alexandra Waterbury, whose ex-boyfriend, another dancer named Chase Finlay, shared sexually explicit photos of her with Ramasar, who then returned the favor by sharing similar pictures of his girlfriend.
“Amar specifically asked for photos of me and so I believe if he hadn’t asked for the photos, they would not have been taken of me,” Alexandra Waterbury, who is suing NYC Ballet, told PIX11.
The lawsuit is one of six Waterbury has filed against several male dancers, New York City Ballet and the School of American ballet.
Supporters circulated a change.org petition demanding that Ramasar be removed as Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks gang in “West Side Story.”
“I had no idea it would be this successful, with almost 25,000 signatures,” Megan Rabin, the petition organizer, told PIX11 News.
Most of the theatergoers day they had no idea about this controversy, the petition or this protest and they didn’t really know what to make of it.
“I’m sort of torn,” Nick Marini , a theatergoer, told PIX11 News. “I didn’t realize what was going on until I came here tonight,” he added.
“I believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty,” Anne Marie Farah, another theatergoer, told PIX11 News.
“I do love West Side Story, its story. And it’s sad what happened to her,” said Ruth Sikder, another theatergoer.
“West Side Story” producers did not respond to a PIX11 request for comment, but have reportedly called Ramasar an “exemplary company member.”
The revival opens February 20.