Laura Osnes opened up about why she won’t be performing in a benefit concert in East Hampton, N.Y. on August 29. The Broadway actress claimed that she was not fired from the production, but instead withdrew because she wasn’t vaccinated against Covid-19.
On Instagram, the 35-year-old wrote that vaccine “protocols had changed, and I would now need proof of vaccination to participate. I was disappointed but responded that I would have to withdraw, as I have not yet gotten the vaccine.”
An article on Page Six originally reported the story and said that Osnes was fired from the production at Hampton’s Guild Hall and that a fellow performer had pressured her to reveal her vaccination status. Laura Osnes denied these claims and said that the Page Six report created a “firestorm of negative conclusions and comments.”
A spokesperson from Guild Hall told Page Six that actors for the benefit concert were required to have proof of vaccination or to produce a negative Covid-19 test in order to perform. Osnes claimed that she never knew of this negative test alternative before withdrawing from the production and she would have taken the test immediately.
“I would have tested in a heartbeat — something that I have been doing for months, and will continue to do so, in order to keep working safely,” Laura Osnes said.
The actress was scheduled to perform in the production of Crazy For You during the one-night-only benefit concert. She has since been replaced by actress Sierra Boggess, who played Ariel in the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid.
Osnes also said that a fellow performer never pressured her to reveal her vaccination status and that her leaving the production was drama-free.
Since withdrawing from the show, Osnes has said she is an anti-vaxxer and explained why she and her husband decided not to get the vaccine. “I believe individuals have the right to do the research, consult a doctor, and come to their own conclusions before deciding whether or not to get any injections,” the Broadway star said. “I stand by the decision my husband [photographer Nathan Johnson] and I, with input from our physician, have made for ourselves, our family planning, and our future.”
The CDC recommends that the vaccine is safe for individuals who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. “Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people,” the CDC reported. “Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19.”
Without a vaccination, Laura Osnes might have a hard time finding work on Broadway in the fall. The actress has previously performed in productions of Cinderella, Bandstand, and Bonnie and Clyde where she received her first Tony nomination. She made a name for herself on Broadway when she made her Broadway debut as Sandy in a production of Grease.
The Broadway League announced that come the fall, all actors and stage crew need to provide proof of vaccination if they want to work in the theaters. The theater industry was devastated by the closing of all theaters following the original lockdown in March 2020. Audience members will also have to show proof of vaccination if they want to enter theater buildings and they must wear masks at all times unless eating or drinking in certain areas.
This vaccination requirement will be in place until October unless the organization makes the decision to extend the mandate.