Broadway Star Alysha Umphress Calls Out New York Times Critic For ‘Ugly’ Body Shaming Review

People are standing behind Alysha Umphress, an actress, singer, and theater star who was ridiculed for her size in a recent review of her show, “Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller,” in the New York Times.

Laura Collins-Hughes published a review of the off-Broadway show on Sunday, July 22.

Among critiques of music, staging, and scenes throughout the show, she made a point of mentioning that Alysha Umphress — who has been in Broadway productions such as “American Idiot” and “On the Town” — wasn’t wearing the proper costume for a woman her size.

The following quote is what sparked the body-shaming scandal:

Ms. Umphress, by the way, is bigger than the other women onstage, and the costume designer, Alejo Vietti, doesn’t seem to have known how to work with that, dressing her in an unnecessarily unflattering way. He does better with the skimpy, yet not overly revealing, pink fringe outfit Emma Degerstedt wears, and jiggles in, for the leering number “Teach Me How to Shimmy.”

Umphress responded to the article, writing that she was disappointed to be singled out for her size:

Broadway actors and actresses defended Umphress. Brandon Uranowitz, whose turn as Adam Hochberg in “An American in Paris” earned him a Tony nomination, wrote that women everywhere deserve better.

Uranowitz called the review “embarrassingly juvenile.”

Andrew Keenan-Bolger, who has appeared in Broadway shows like “Tuck Everlasting,” “Newsies,” and “Mary Poppins,” suggested that instead of reading the review, people should purchase tickets to see “one of the most gorgeous and fiercely talented women” perform in the show.

“Smokey Joes” debuted on July 22, at Stage 42 in New York.

Collins-Hughes did not reply to Umphress but she defended herself and her original words, responding to the public retaliation:

She claims she was not at all praising or shaming anyone’s body type, but strictly talking about the costuming, and the designer’s lack of knowledge for dressing a “larger woman.”

Still, Twitter wasn’t buying the defense:

Some are saying that she should apologize instead of defending what she said:

Umphress gave a heartfelt thanks to fans and fellow actors who stood by her side:

Collins-Hughes hasn’t issued an apology or given any further comments.

H / T – HuffPo, NYTimes