Open letter to Steve Brookstein

Dear Steve,
The news that the X Factor musical I Can’t Sing is to close after just two months in the West End came as a shock to most people; myself included. I hadn’t yet found the opportunity to see the show for myself, something which is true of many others I suspect, so am not in a position to comment on whether it was ‘good enough’ to warrant a longer run. In light of the overwhelmingly positive reviews it received however, and taking into account the feedback I heard from those who had seen it, the decision to close the show stuck me as a premature decision. Whatever the reason behind it the end result is the same: the cast and crew who have put everything they have into I Can’t Sing are all out of a job in two weeks time. It was these hard-working individuals who were my first thought, especially since I know some of them personally, and I was genuinely gutted that it has turned out this way for them. Most people’s reaction to the news was along these same lines, but then you posted the following message on

Twitter: ‘Good news: X Factor Musical #Icantsing is to close 10th May. Bad News: Expect more “happy” pictures of Cowell will [sic] his dogs and baby.’ ‘I might have a glass of wine and eat one of my son’s Easter eggs to celebrate. #Icantsing

Why you chose to respond in such an insensitive and callous manner is quite honestly beyond me. The members of the public who still remember who you are will also be well aware of your feelings towards Simon Cowell, but your gloating over the fact that I Can’t Sing has not been the success he hoped for is something which could have been done in the privacy of your own home instead of on a social networking site where thousands of people would see it, including the show’s cast.

Your comments were made in the same bitter tone which has been heard in every word you’ve aimed at Simon Cowell since you were released from his record label after winning the first series of The X Factor. It was a chance to take a shot at the man who you’ve had a very public grudge match with over the years and the lure of point-scoring was clearly too hard to resist. I hope it was worth it though, because it has also attracted a wave of anger from theatre fans and those involved in the show.

The lack of consideration you showed to the feelings of the cast and crew of I Can’t Sing was incredibly disrespectful to them. You defended your comments by attempting to compliment them with such follow-up posts on Twitter as: ‘I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing hard working talented people in theatre. This isn’t about the actors.’

You tried to make a distinction between the show and the people involved by saying that you were happy the show was closing but sad for the actors, but the two are linked to one another and the fate of one ultimately affects the other. Whether intentional or not, celebrating the closure of I Can’t Sing was an undeniable slap in the face for them and the fact you couldn’t see that gives an enlightening insight into who you really are, as did some of your other tweets on the matter. Your flippant remark that, ‘Another show will takes it’s place and people will get jobs. What’s the problem?’ only served to display how little you actually care about the fact that a great many people are having their time and effort and belief in the show rewarded with unemployment, but I think it was this one which really displayed your true colours: ‘Please no more gay theatre students throwing tantrums. Thanks. #Icantsing

In just eight words you managed to not only offend every musical theatre fan by stereotyping them in such a short-sighted and backwards fashion, but also reveal the extent of your ignorance by posting this vile, homophobic statement. Such a provocative tweet earned you the ire of theatre fans, but also awarded you with the attention you were so clearly vying for so I would say that you are more deserving of pity than ire. Perhaps you hoped for sympathy by writing such tweets as, ‘Oh to have two weeks notice. That was longer than Cowell gave me,’ and ‘Nobody cares about the lives ruined by public humiliation on X factor.’? If so, you will be sorely disappointed.

Your continual animosity towards Simon Cowell is reminiscent of a child stamping his foot in churlish discontent after being refused the thing he wants. It’s easier to blame someone else when life doesn’t go the way you hoped, but living in the past under a cloud of resentment is a pretty poor existence and at some point you have to let go of it and just move on.

The entertainment industry is a hard place to succeed in, and yes, it can also be unfair at times, but rather than learn a life lesson from your experience it has instead left you consumed by bitterness and the foul taste seems to have poisoned your tongue. I accept that your original tweet was aimed at Simon Cowell and the show which ‘mocked the public’ rather than its cast members, but your self-serving and small-minded pettiness nevertheless rejoiced in the misfortune of others and kicked out at a group of people who were already down. Any decent person would have recognised this and decided that it wasn’t worth getting in a dig at someone/something you dislike at the expense of those involved with the show.

The talented individuals who work in this industry don’t do it for fame or money, but for the pure love of the craft. In all the speculation as to why I Can’t Sing is closing, the one thing that can’t be blamed is the cast involved in it as they have put their blood, sweat and tears into it and devoted themselves to the show because they wholeheartedly believed in it. Any stage actor aspires to perform in the West End but that dream has been dashed for them as the show’s early closure snatches away the payoff for all the years spent in pursuit of that dream – something which you could surely understand Steve. Your disrespectful attitude has disgusted not only the I Can’t Sing cast and crew but the many loyal theatre fans who support them and all their hard work. Regardless of whether they liked the show or not, these fans know how much the cast gave to the show and how utterly devastating it is for them to see it close so soon, and so they responded with empathy, which is more than you could do.

Enjoy your Easter egg Steve. Hopefully, with a mouth full of chocolate, we won’t have to endure any more of your foul, bitter and completely inconsiderate comments.

By Julie Robinson @missjulie25

Tuesday 28th April 2014

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