Fifteen people have been hospitalized with varying injuries after the debut performance of Cops: The Musical in Ferguson, Missouri resulted in violent rioting.
Eyewitnesses from the event say protesters trampled people and mobbed the stage immediately following the second half — which is reportedly the weaker of the two acts, lacking serious character development and dance numbers. Following the incident, performers told The Peak that they were unaware of any controversy surrounding police in the city.
“We thought everybody would love Cops,” said Aaron Shipmann, who plays the role of Officer McTaser. “The show has been on-air for 25 years now, so there’s clearly an audience for it.”
While the injuries ranged from minor scrapes to broken bones, it is reported that all of the victims are in stable condition.
The musical, which featured original songs like “White-Collar Crime Don’t Pay No Dime” and “Interrogation Station,” was reportedly unpopular with Ferguson residents.
“This is some kind of joke, right?” Derrick Rivera, a resident of Ferguson, told reporters after the show’s debut. “I mean, this sounds like something published in The Onion. Un-fucking-believable.”
According to Rivera, people “started goin’ apeshit” immediately following the musical number, “To Serve and Protect,” an upbeat, catchy tune about arresting tax evaders.
“We wanted to show a different side of police officers,” explained Shipmann. “In hindsight, what we went with may have been an insensitive choice.”
While general response has been that Cops: The Musical is hopelessly offensive and something that “only a person completely devoid of any trace of a soul” would come up with, the play has some critics singing on a high note, with many praising the show’s direction, integration of actor movement, and the decision to use actual rubber bullets instead of prop guns.