Engeman Theater resumes 'Smokey Joe’s Café' performances following racist incident
Performances of “Smokey Joe’s Café” resumed Wednesday evening at the Engeman Theater after an actor reported being yelled a racial slur.
The owners say the theater was close to a sellout, as signs were outside to show support for the actor who reported being called the N-word while walking up Main Street in Northport after Sunday’s afternoon performance.
“It’s a disgusting thing that took place,” says Kevin J. O’Neill, co-owner and managing director of the theater.
He says the outpouring of support since Sunday evening’s performance was canceled has been overwhelming.
O’Neill says people have been sending flowers, cookies and general messages of support.
Members of the anti-hate group “Not In Our Town Northport” bought tickets to Wednesday’s performance to support the actors after hearing about the incident. They wore T-shirts showing their support as the actors took to the stage for their first performance back.
“Everyone should be treated equally,” says Northport resident Emma Kearon. “It doesn’t matter what their skin color, it only matter if they’re kind or not.”
O’Neill says they plan to donate all of the proceeds sold from 4:30 p.m. Sunday through 8 p.m. Wednesday, to a cause that the actors choose.
He says a supporter of the theater has agreed to match the proceeds.
“We felt we could not profit off of a terrible situation,” O’Neill says.
He says they are on pace to raise close to $25,000.
The actor who was yelled at has chosen not to be identified or file an official report, but Northport police are investigating.
O’Neill says the actors want to focus on their performances and not the word that was yelled.
Residents say they wanted to ensure the actors know that the act isn’t what Northport is about.
“We’ve had some hard conversations,” says Northport resident Lauren Kearon. “But we’ve kind of come to the consensus that we can be a positive change in our community.”