Jussie Smollett’s recent hate crime stunt may have cost him the lead role in the Broadway play Take Me Out. The play debuted on Broadway on February 27, 2003, and ran for 355 performances. It won the 2003 Tony Award for Best Play.
Smollett, who is biracial and openly homosexual, was set to play the lead role of Darren Lemming, a mixed-race professional baseball player at the peak of his career who decides to come out of the closet.
Take Me Out explores homophobia, racism, classism and toxic masculinity in men’s sports.
Smollett, 33, was in New York City to audition for the role, 12 hours before he staged a hate crime with two Nigerian-American brothers in January.
The Empire star told police he was assaulted by two Trump supporters in a racist and homophobic attack outside his condo in Chicago.
But investigators determined the actor was lying and that he staged the hoax to boost his celebrity profile.
A source tells Dailymail.com that Smollett had already won the role in the play.
“Everything was set to go and the producers were planning to announce that Jussie and Zachary Quinto were starring in the play last month,” said one Broadway insider.
“Everyone was so supportive after the attack and then suddenly, everything shifted.”
In March, Smollett was hit with 16 felony counts of lying to police. But in a stunning reversal, Cook County’s top prosecutor Kim Foxx dropped all charges and sealed his records.
It was later revealed that Michelle Obama’s former White House chief of staff Tina Tchen contacted Foxx on behalf of a family member.
That family member is believed to be presidential candidate Kamala Harris, who is allegedly related to Smollett’s mother.
Another source close to the play said the events involving Smollett left them in shock. “Here is a kid who is on a hit television show, has made a name for himself, and gets the chance of a lifetime,” said the source.
The source implied that Empire was due to be cancelled after this season.
“He would have come off the sixth season of Empire and kicked off the next leg of his career with a role on Broadway. And not just that, the lead role in one of the best plays of the century in his Broadway debut.”