Judd Burstein, the independent investigator looking into claims of harassment at “Chicago” after the death of a cast member, plans to finish his investigation in the next two weeks.
Burstein confirmed in an email to Broadway News that he had been retained by National Artists Management Company, the production company of “Chicago” producers Barry and Fran Weissler, to look into reports of harassment targeting the late Jeff Loeffelholz.
Friends of Loeffelholz, who had been the Mary Sunshine standby on Broadway since 1996, have claimed that he was verbally harassed in a June 22 rehearsal and questioned about his contract.
Burstein has served as counsel for the Weissler’s company on a few matters. However, he wrote that he is acting as an independent investigator in this matter and took the job under the condition that he not share the investigation with NAMCO or anyone else until a written report is released.
“My obligation here is find the truth about what happened without regard to the consequences which flow from my finding,” he wrote.
Depending on the findings, he may make suggestions to NAMCO or the Weisslers on how to conduct business in the future, he wrote.
Burstein said he met with the cast on July 6 and asked to speak with anyone who “had knowledge of what occurred with respect to Mr. Loeffelholz’s death,” as well as any other issues concerning “Chicago.” Those interviews and the information will be kept confidential if the subject desires.
He is also reaching out beyond the cast and crew “to anyone else” who has “useful information,” in order to determine the link, if any, between the treatment Loeffelholz may have faced at Chicago and his death.
To Burstein’s knowledge, there are no other investigations being conducted at this time.
Burstein said he was sending business cards and a letter to the Ambassador Theatre on Monday, asking cast members to set up a time to meet with him.
In addition to Actors’ Equity, which previously said it was monitoring the situation, other Broadway unions are waiting on results of the investigation.
“[The Society of Directors and Choreographers] is aware of tragic passing of Jeffrey Loeffelholz and sends its condolences to his family, his friends, the company of ‘Chicago’ and everyone whose life he touched in the theatre community. We understand via the press that the ‘Chicago’ producers, as is appropriate for the employer of record, have undertaken an investigation of the events that transpired. We will review those results once they are shared with us,” the union said in a statement to Broadway News.
“Our union wishes to express its deepest condolences to Mr. Leoffelholz’s family and friends, and we are saddened by the loss of a member of the Broadway family. We take the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone in the community very seriously. Local 802 declines to comment any further on this situation at this time as it is the subject of an active investigation,” a spokesperson from Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians said.