SILVER SPRING, Md. (WJLA) - Friends and members of the D.C.-area theater community are mobilizing Tuesday in support of a beloved local actor who was brutally attacked and robbed in the streets following the opening night performance of his latest play.
Frank Britton, who plays the role of Pilates in the The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at the Roundhouse Theatre in Silver Spring, was beaten and robbed of his iPhone, iPad and wallet as he was attempting to hail a cab in the 8000 block of Colesville Road in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Montgomery County police confirmed the attack, but were unable to offer any additional details Tuesday due to the ongoing investigation.
Friends said, though, that Britton was one of the last to leave a cast party on Colesville Road not far from the theater around 1:45 a.m. Britton reportedly walked out, telling friends he planned to get a cab home, but moments later was attacked by four unknown men who beat him and stole his belongings.
Britton sustained multiple injuries to his face and head, including a broken cheekbone, and underwent surgery at Holy Cross Hospital on Tuesday around 3 p.m.
The attack now has the D.C. metro area theater community in shock, as Montgomery County Police continue to investigate what happened to Britton. Meanwhile, his fellow actors are rallying around him.
When friends and members of the D.C. theater community learned of Britton's attack, they immediately sprung into action.
A GoFundMe site to help raise money for Britton's medical bills - as he had no insurance - had more than $18,000 in donations from roughly 500 different people within the first four hours, though the initial goal was to raise just $3,000.
Also, a Facebook page entitled "Friends of Frank Britton" has 300 members signed up since the incident, as people logged on to sign up for meal deliveries and a steady stream of visitors to Britton's hospital room to keep up his spirits.
On Tuesday night, from his hospital bed, Frank Britton - despite the broken bones in his face - remains remarkably poised.
"Lots of physical pain," he describes. "But with the outpouring of support and the love from my friends, strangers even, it's been really overwhelming and amazing."
"In a lot of ways I'm not surprised," says Forum Theatre Artist Director Michael Dove. "I think people really want to support him and really make sure that he has all the support and love he needs."
"Will this experience come back to haunt me at some time down the line? I'm sure. But for now, I'm about moving forward from it," says Britton.
He adds that the love he has felt since the incident far outweighs the violence that was unleashed:
"I'm not going to wallow back in this. No, no, no. I have a show to do."
Friends say Britton was a lifelong D.C.-area native, who had most recently starred as the character Hambone in Roundhouse Theatre's production of Two Trains Running.