Chad Kimball, the Tony-nominated Memphis actor who was starring in Come From Away before the coronavirus pandemic shut down Broadway in early March, is being dragged on social media for comments he made regarding singing — an act that can easily spread the deadly virus.
Kimball — who revealed he had COVID-19 back in March via an Instagram video, had said he struggled with the disease, calling it “three cold flus in one” and suffering “intense body aches” — took to Twitter over the weekend to share his feelings on new restrictions and orders put in place with cases on the rise.
On November 15, the actor posted a statement regarding Washington State COVID-19 guidelines when it comes to religious services. It read, “Choirs, bands, and ensembles won’t perform during services, but soloists will be able to. Facial coverings will be required for congregation members, who won’t be allowed to sing.”
To that, he replied, “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. #inslee #Tyranny #truth."
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. #inslee #Tyranny #truth pic.twitter.com/84UDiozOd1— Chad Kimball (@chadkimball1) November 15, 2020
The Broadway community was absolutely stunned by his stance, especially given the fact that Nick Cordero, the Tony-nominated star of Bullets Over Broadway, died tragically at 41 after a lengthy battle with COVID-19, leaving behind wife Amanda Kloots and one-year-old son Elvis.
His Come From Away costar, Sharon Wheatley, wrote, “I respectfully totally and completely disagree with you. I respectfully feel you are very much on the wrong side of this. I FaceTimed with you when you had Covid, Chad. You were very sick. I remember. It scared me. I love you like a brother, but I disagree with you.”
Steve Kazee, Jenna Dewan's fiancé who won a Tony for his performance in Once, tweeted (without replying directly), “The ones who quote the Bible most seem to be the ones who follow its teachings the least. This is not about you and your need to sing your praise songs. I’m almost certain selfishness is frowned upon in that big book of yours. Wear a mask. Take care of your fellow humans.”
“Oh Chad, I’m going to hold you personally responsible for actively trying to increase the death toll to OVER 240,000. No one wants to hear you sing live right now nor does your God. Please believe science over your religious politics,” replied Broadway actor Nick Cearley, known for his musical group The Skivvies.
John Tartaglia, the Tony-nominated star of Avenue Q, wrote: “Chad, I know I don’t know you well, but I am compelled to respond to this — this is NOT about power or tyranny. This is very much about looking out for your fellow man.” When Broadway publicist Lisa Goldberg was called upon to help “fix” the situation, she explained, “I haven’t been involved in Chad’s life in a very long time. But I will say this tweet makes me sad. It's disappointing and dangerous. I hope he reconsiders this kind of uninformed, irresponsible and selfish stance.”
Jenna Leigh Green, the Broadway actress who also starred as Libby on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, simply posted a pensive face and wrote, “Chad. Chad.”
The tweet has garnered countless replies and nearly 1,000 quote-tweets and even prompted an op-ed on theatrical news source TheatreMania, regarding the state of theatre in the current climate. Stars from Frozen, Jersey Boys, Spring Awakening and more all chimed in.
Hours later, Kimball responded, but still has not taken down his post or changed his stance. “To be clear: nobody is going maskless. The overreach — in my opinion! — is not being able to sing even WITH a mask,” he wrote. “No singing WITH a mask ON. Everyone will continue wearing masks. With respect and with hope and with care.”
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.— Chad Kimball (@chadkimball1) November 16, 2020
However, it seemed to defy his previous sentiments after contracting the novel virus back in March. “Please take every precaution by social distancing and washing your hands,” he told his 5,000+ Instagram followers at the time. “It is an act of love, respect, self-sacrifice, and compassion to keep distant right now.”
Broadway, meanwhile, remains closed through at least June 2021, leaving an entire community out of work for the foreseeable future.