Broadway star Okieriete “Oak” Onaodowan has dedicated his final performance in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 to Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed Saturday when a driver plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protestors after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
On Sunday, Onaodowan tweeted, “#HeatherHeyer My last show is in honor of u. I sing 4 u today, I weep 4 u today, on behalf of this nation, I ask to wake up for u today.”
Onaodowan added his voice to a chorus of Americans expressing grief and outrage after the rally exploded into violence and President Trump refrained from explicitly condemning white supremacists, instead saying “many sides” were responsible. At the rally, which centered on the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from a local park, counter-protesters marched in opposition of white nationalists brandishing Confederate and Nazi flags.
Onaodowan, meanwhile, is departing The Great Comet a few weeks before the show closes in the wake of a casting controversy.
Last month producers announced that stage and screen star Mandy Patinkin was being brought in to replace Onaodowan for a limited run, but the decision to truncate a black actor’s run and replace him with a white actor drew immediate criticism. Patinkin eventually withdrew from the show, and the producers issued a mea culpa.
The Great Comet will close Sept. 3.