Broadway’s Laura Osnes Defends COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal: ‘My Case Is Personal’
Laura Osnes is standing by her decision to not get vaccinated against COVID-19 amid damning reports regarding her exit from a forthcoming concert.
The actor and singer, best known for her performances in Broadway’s “Bandstand” and “Cinderella,” released a statement late Monday in which she confirmed that she and her husband, Nathan Johnson, have not yet been vaccinated.
“My case is personal,” Osnes wrote. “I stand by the decision my husband and I, with input from our physician, have made for ourselves, our family planning, and our future. There is much that is still unknown.”
“Every soul is entitled to live according to their convictions and work without being publicly ostracized,” she added. “My commitment does not discount my care and commitment to safety during this unprecedented time.”
Osnes, a two-time Tony nominee, had been scheduled to take part in an Aug. 29 concert performance of “Crazy for You” in Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York.
Last week, the New York Post’s Page Six reported that she’d been fired from the show over her refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, adding that co-star Tony Yazbeck pressed her on the matter because he “has two little kids at home.”
Guild Hall did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on the report. However, artistic director Josh Gladstone said in a statement cited by People and The Wrap that the theater was “sorry not to have Laura on this, [and] we will look forward to working with Laura again.”
Actor Sierra Boggess, whose Broadway résumé includes “The Little Mermaid” and “School of Rock,” was named as Osnes’ replacement.
The news that Osnes had refused to be vaccinated sparked intense backlash on social media.
“If you claim to be part of the same community that had to watch Nick Cordero die and yet still refuse to get the vaccine, you don’t deserve to be part of that community anymore,” one person wrote, referencing the Broadway star who died last year following a monthslong battle with COVID-19.
“I predict Laura Osnes will be doing national anthems at the RNC by 2024,” added another.
In her Monday statement, Osnes disputed much of the Page Six report, saying she had not been given an option to take a COVID-19 test in lieu of vaccination, as Guild Hall’s policy states.
Noting that she was “disappointed,” she said she’d chosen to withdraw from “Crazy for You,” and that none of her co-stars had pressured her over her vaccine stance.
“It was a drama-free and discrete transition,” she wrote.
Still, Osnes ― who in 2013 stated she felt judged for being “so sweet and so conservative” ― may continue to find herself at odds with theater owners, co-stars and creative staff moving forward.
Last month, the Broadway League announced that all 41 of the Great White Way’s theaters will require all audience members, performers, backstage crew and staff to be fully vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test. At present, the policies will remain in effect through at least Oct. 31.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter