No Charges In Climate Activists Disruption of Broadway’s ‘An Enemy Of The People’; Michael Imperioli Says “No Hard Feelings” – Update

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

UPDATE, with Imperioli statement: Climate activists disrupted tonight’s Broadway performance of An Enemy Of The People, bringing the production starring Jeremy Strong and Michael Imperioli to a brief halt as protesters shouted “No theater on a dead planet” before being subdued and escorted out by ushers and cast members.

The interruption came during a scene in the Ibsen play in which the lead character, played by Strong, addresses a rowdy town hall gathering. The scene is performed in the Broadway revival at Circle in the Square with house lights up and some audience members invited to gather in the in-the-round performance space to replicate the town hall setting.

More from Deadline

One by one, the protesters stood up from various sections of the audience, removing jackets to reveal t-shirts with climate change slogans.

Circle in the Square management is not expected to press criminal charges. The activists were escorted out of the building by NYPD but were not charged.

A group identifying itself as “Extinction Rebellion NYC” later claimed responsibility for the action, posting a video on X/Twitter with the caption “Rebels disrupted #AnEnemyOfThePeople on #Broadway. #Climate activists aren’t the enemy; it’s fossil fuel criminals like Exxon & Chevron. If we don’t #EndFossilFuels now, there’ll be #NoTheatreOnADeadPlanet.”

See video below.

Shouting “No Broadway on a dead planet,” “No theater on a dead planet” and “The water is coming for us,” at least three or four protesters, most in the audience seats but at least one storming the stage area, brought the play to a stop for several minutes. Several of the cast’s actors, including Imperioli and David Patrick Kelly, shouted back at the disrupters and physically began pushing them up the stairs toward an exit.

The activists’ action was seemingly well-thought-out, coming just as one of the play’s characters offered an objection during the town hall proceeding. At that point, the first protester stood and said, “I object to the silencing of scientists. I am very, very sorry to interrupt your night and this amazing performance. I am a theater artist, I work in the theater professionally and I am throwing my career…” at which point Imperioli yelled, “You need to leave. You’re interrupting.”

Imperioli’s onstage response was in keeping with his character – a 19th Century Norwegian mayor speaking at the rowdy town hall gathering and trying to silence another character. The audience soon caught on to the reality of the situation, responding with applause to the quick-thinking Imperioli’s in-character shouts. One woman yelled an approving “Christopher!,” an apparent reference to the actor’s character on The Sopranos.

Following the show, Imperioli posted a message on Instagram (with a screen capture of Deadline’s initial coverage): “Tonight was wild….no hard feelings extinction rebellion crew. michael is on your side but mayor stockmann is not. much love. m @anenemyplay @extinctionrebellion”

After a couple minutes of shouting and chaos during the protest, an announcer on the venue’s PA system asked the cast to leave the stage area. Before the actors had a chance to exit, the protesters were removed. One of the activists struggled with ushers to the point of nearly falling to the ground.

The group’s tactic was similar to a recent protest during Les Miserables on London’s West End.

Although it was unknown whether charges had or would be filed, at least one NYPD vehicle with flashing lights was parked outside the Midtown theater following the performance.

Kelly, who plays the elderly father-in-law of Strong’s main character, approached one of the activists and shouted “Write your own play!” several times.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.