Playwright steps into spotlight to save 'Thoughts of a Colored Man' from cancellation

UPDATE:  The production has announced that it has had to end the production.  In an Instagram post late Thursday evening the production posted:  "We have tried our hardest to safely navigate the current, unfortunate health crisis, but ultimately we are unable to continue under the unfortunate conditions of Covid exposure in the city and country."


The 8 p.m. curtain at the John Golden Theatre almost did not rise. But the man who would step in— allowing the show to go on— was not an understudy.

"I literally didn’t realize I was going on stage until about 7:50 or 7:55," Keenan Scott II told FOX 5 NY on Wednesday morning.

Keenan Scott II is the playwright of the Broadway play "Thoughts of a Colored Man," but Tuesday night he took the place of an actor who, just minutes earlier, received a positive COVID-19 test result.

"We talked to stage management, to producers, and then we decided for me to go on, so the show could go on," Scott said. 

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It’s not that "Thoughts of a Colored Man" doesn’t have understudies; it has two. However, two actors were already out with non- COVID-related illnesses.

Playwrights typically write— they don’t have their shows lines or staging memorized. So, adjustments had to be made. 

"So I was on stage, script in hand, and that was the decision. That was the only way we were able to do it.

But that, in Scott’s mind, far better than the alternative— a cancellation. 

"It’s more important for the audience to get a show. These are people that traveled to see us, some from all over the Tri-State, some from across the country to see us, purchasing these tickets, and I want to honor that."

As for how it felt, the still-beaming Scott says he’s only just now able to put his Broadway acting debut in perspective. 


"Last night I didn’t even have enough time to think about what was going on. I just had to go on stage. So today it’s definitely an adrenaline rush for me."

And Scott says we shouldn’t be deterred by the fact that one-third of Broadway shows have canceled shows in recent days. 

"I think it’s a beautiful thing that two-thirds of shows are still going on."

And he says if you’re holding a ticket to a canceled show…

"Come see ‘Thoughts of a Colored Man.’ I think that would be a great alternative," Scott said.