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Nude Scene from Broadway Hit Draws Theater Fine From City

November 3, 1993

DALLAS (AP) _ A theater has been cited for operating a sexually oriented business on the basis of a nude scene in a play that was an award winner on New York and London stages.

But both police and other officials sounded Tuesday like they were gettting cold feet about pursuing the case against ″Six Degrees of Separation.″

The play, which recently was made into a movie, was voted Broadway’s best play in 1991 by the New York Drama Critics Circle and won a 1993 Olivier award in London.

″I just hope it blows over before we all look real stupid. Hopefully, the city will use some good common sense on this one,″ said Don Postell, executive assistant city attorney.

Postell said the city’s 1986 sexually oriented business ordinance defines such organizations as ″regularly″ featuring nudity. Postell said the scene may occur at each performance but, ″I’m not certain it meets the letter of the law and certainly not the intent.″

The Dallas Theater Center was cited last week. The ordinance makes it a Class C misdemeanor to operate a sexually oriented business without a license. Violation is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000.

Police are ″seeking a legal opinion whether or not this business fit the statute,″ said police spokesman Ed Spencer.

At any rate, the scene won’t be changed, said Richard Hamburger, artistic director of the Theater Center.

″It’s just one person who called and misrepresented the show,″ he said.

″Six Degrees,″ by John Guare, is based on a real-life scam in which a young man hoodwinked a rich New York couple into letting him stay in their apartment by claiming he was actor Sidney Poitier’s son. The nude scene occurs when the couple finds the young man in bed with another man.

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