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Kristin Chenoweth vs. Newsweek -- a Broadway battle goes viral

May 12, 2010 |  3:07 pm

Chenoweth-hayes What started as a review (of sorts) of a Broadway show has mushroomed into one of those only-on-the-Internet free-for-alls.

In late April, Ramin Setoodeh posted an essay on Newsweek.com in which he dinged Sean Hayes' performance in the current revival of "Promises, Promises," saying that seeing Hayes ("best known as the queeny Jack on 'Will & Grace' ") as a single guy in love with a single woman is weird because "he comes off as wooden and insincere, like he's trying to hide something, which of course he is."

Setoodeh goes on to talk about the problems gay actors face playing straight characters.

Kristin Chenoweth, Hayes' "Promises" costar, promptly fired off an online response that defended Hayes while taking Setoodeh to task for what she called a "horrendously homophobic" piece.

From this--as our sister site, Ministry of Gossip, has noted--has sprung a torrent of columns and comments claiming outrage, overreaction and everything in between. 

Ryan Murphy, creator of the Fox series "Glee,"  is urging a boycott of Newsweek until, he says, an apology is issued to Hayes and others including  "other brave out actors who were cruelly singled out."

"Yikes!" says our colleague, Patrick Goldstein. "What's happening here?" In his Big Picture column, he offers his perspective on how and where things are going in this Broadway battle gone viral.

Whatever happens next, the controversy will probably keep the theater world abuzz for awhile, not only because of the issues involved but because of the popularity of Tony winner Chenoweth, Tony nominee Hayes and, of course, "Glee."

--Karen Wada

Photo: Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth. Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images.

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