Ms Howard said she went to Mr McLachlan after the actor complained and told him he needed to apologise.
The actor was “pretty upset” when she made the report, Ms Howard said. When the resident director went to Mr McLachlan he appeared frustrated because his microphone had malfunctioned and he had a problem with his costume.
“I said, ‘You scared her, you should talk to her and you should apologise’,” Ms Howard told the court on Tuesday.
“He said, ‘I will do that’, and he was sorry at the frustration of the situation. It was very short and definite because I just wanted him to apologise.” Ms Howard said the following day, the actor said Mr McLachlan had apologised.
“She said, ‘Your mate McLachlan just apologised to me’, and I said, ‘That’s good’,” Ms Howard said.
“She said, ‘I didn’t want him to apologise’, and I said, ‘Why? He needs to if you felt the way you did’.”
Ms Howard said the episode left her feeling “a bit confused”.
Ms Howard couldn’t explain why the complaint and the problems Mr McLachlan had with his microphone and costume weren’t in an internal briefing compiled after the show.
Mr McLachlan is accused of inappropriately touching the same actor while they were in a scene together, but when he was concealed from the audience.
He is also accused of kissing another actor on stage when a scene didn’t require the contact, and of running his hand up the leg of a third woman while she was performing and he was hidden from the audience’s view.
He allegedly kissed the fourth woman while they were off stage, without her consent.
The four women cannot be named.
Ms Howard said Mr McLachlan had a licence to ad lib during the production, both with the script and choreography, but that the show’s producers would need to seek approval from “international creatives” if there were to be modifications to the show.
She said she didn’t believe the producers would need to seek permission to include a kiss by Mr McLachlan’s character.
“No I don’t believe so,” she said.
“[It] is a very free show in its genre and storyline.”
Ms Howard said she never saw anything inappropriate happen on or backstage, and that the interactions she witnessed between the cast were “gleeful and consensual”.
But the allegations against Mr McLachlan had since divided Australia’s theatrical community.
“It’s hard when things like this happen,” she said.
“I support everyone in this situation, I just want everyone to be OK.”
The hearing continues.
Adam Cooper joined The Age in 2011 after a decade with AAP. Email or tweet Adam with your news tips.