Real-life drama interrupted the on-stage comedy at the Manatee Performing Arts Center Thursday evening.
A little more than an hour in to the Manatee Players’ staging of Mel Brooks’ “The Producers,” director Rick Kerby stepped on stage in the middle of scene and announced that an actor had been injured and that the show would be delayed while the injury was evaluated. Then a minute or two later, Kerby came back on stage with a microphone and asked, “Is there a doctor in the house?”
A medical professional went back stage, and after a few minutes more, Kerby came back out an announced that the show was being canceled for the night. The actor, Craig Weiskerger, had slipped during a dance number and dislocated his shoulder. He was being taken to the emergency room.
It was opening night of the first show of the Manatee Players’ 2017-18 season.
Weiskerger, who had the lead role of Leo Bloom, had slipped during a dance in the song “I Want to Be a Producer,” the fifth number in the first act. In a previous scene, Benjamin Taylor, playing Max Bialystock, threw water on Weiskerger, and Weiskerger slipped on the wet floor.
Later Thursday night, Manatee Players CEO Janene Witham said she expected the show would go on as scheduled Friday night, but that the company was still figuring out exactly how to proceed. It’s possible one of the actors in a smaller role would take over as Leo.
Everyone who was at Thursday’s show will get to see it a different night.