Old Globe finds replacement for James Barbour in ‘Rocky Horror’

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The Old Globe in San Diego has found a replacement for actor James Barbour, who abruptly departed the company’s upcoming production of ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ last week. Actor Matt McGrath will take over the role of Frank ‘N’ Furter — a transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania — in the musical.

Barbour left ‘Rocky Horror’ last week under ambiguous circumstances. The company sent out a press release Thursday saying his departure was ‘due to issues with his wife’s pregnancy.’ However, in the days before the announcement, there had been a local furor over the actor’s 2008 sex case involving a minor.

In 2008, Barbour admitted to engaging in sexual activity with a minor in 2001 while performing in the Broadway musical ‘Jane Eyre.’ The actor eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. As part of his plea bargain, Barbour was required to mention the convictions to people who employed him.

The case was picked up in the local San Diego media, including the radio show hosted by conservative commentator Rick Roberts.


McGrath is an experienced stage and screen actor who has performed on Broadway and in regional productions. He appeared in ‘Putting It Togther’ at South Coast Repertory in 2009 and in the touring production of ‘The Black Rider,’ directed by Robert Wilson with music by Tom Waits, that played at the Ahmanson Theatre in 2006.

‘The Rocky Horror Show’ is expected to start performances Sept. 15 at the Old Globe and will run through Nov. 6. The musical is directed by Oanh Nguyen, the artistic director of the Chance Theatre in Orange County.


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— David Ng