Society of Directors and Choreographers joins legal action against Paradise Square producers over unpaid wages
Society of Directors and Choreographers joins legal action against place of paradise Producers on unpaid wages
The latest decision follows earlier filings by theater unions representing actors, managers and designers.
The Broadway Producers place of paradise, directed by Garth Drabinsky, are facing another legal complaint for money owed, this time revenue owed to director Moisés Kaufman, choreographer Bill T. Jones and three specialty choreographers, including Garrett Coleman and Jason Oremus. Filed through the theater union Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the lawsuit seeks to recover more than $140,000 in royalties, fees, and pension and health contributions.
The lawsuit joins similar filings from Actors’ Equity and United Scenic Artists Local USA 829 and brings the total amounts owed to performers employed by the production to nearly half a million dollars. Issues surrounding the production have already led Equity to place Drabinsky on its “Do Not Work” list, effectively ending his ability to produce on Broadway and in many major theaters nationwide. Canadian Actors’ Equity joined the American union in banning its members from working with Toronto-based Drabinsky due to a reciprocal agreement between the two unions.
SDC’s complaint states that the union and place of paradise Producer Bernard Abrams agreed on the amount due in May, but with the payments still unpaid, this new case appears to be enforcing that agreement through the courts.
The legal drama is not the first for Drabinsky. Tony’s Winner Ragtime and Show boat producer was found guilty of fraud and forgery in 2009 following the dissolution of his production company Livent. place of paradise is Drabinsky’s first Broadway outing since being paroled and released from prison in 2014. Equity also put a work stoppage order on the production earlier this year following contract disputes, a decision that lasted only one day.
place of paradise, which opened April 3 and closed July 17, was directed by Kaufman, with choreography by Tony Jones winner. It is set during the Civil War and tells the rich story of Irish immigrants and Black Americans fighting for a similar cause. Star Joaquina Kalukango won a 2022 Tony Award for her performance in the work.
A national tour is reportedly in preparation for the 2023-2024 season, as well as a number of international productions. It is unclear whether Drabinsky’s troubles could jeopardize these plans; Actors’ Equity has no jurisdiction over any international production.
place of paradise was designed by Black 47 frontman Larry Kirwan. Christina Anderson, Craig Lucas, and Kirwan wrote the musical’s book to a score with music by Jason Howland, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Masi Asare, and additional music by Kirwan.
The production is also directed by Alex Sanchez; musical supervision, direction and orchestrations by Howland; scenic design by Allen Moyer; costume design by Toni-Leslie James; lighting design by Donald Holder; sound design by Jon Weston; and projection design by Wendall K. Harrington.