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Jujamcyn, Ordway court showdown in Twin Cities

It looks as though the crosstown feud between St. Paul-based Ordway Music Theater and Jujamcyn Theaters Corp. over Broadway show bookings in Minneapolis is going to end up in court one way or another.

On April 6, the Ordway filed papers in Hennepin County District Court arguing that any legal disputes between the Ordway and Jujamcyn must go to arbitration – including the question of whether Jujamcyn can legally book Broadway shows in Minneapolis after its current contract with the Ordway expires in June 1996. The Ordway argues that Jujamcyn is restricted by a five-year no compete clause.

The Ordway’s move came in response to a lawsuit Jujamcyn filed against the Ordway in February arguing that it is not bound by the no-compete clause, and is free to book whatever plays it chooses in Minneapolis after the current consulting contract expires.

Until recently, the Ordway and Jujamcyn were partners in a cooperative venture that transformed the Twin Cities into the seventh-largest market for Broadway shows in the U.S. But in a surprise move in December, Jujamcyn announced that it was severing its ties with the Ordway to enter into an exclusive arrangement with Minneapolis.

Unless the Ordway can successfully argue that the no-compete clause in its current contract with Jujamcyn is binding – a longshot at best, since courts rarely uphold them – Jujamcyn’s move will split the Twin Cities market, forcing the smaller Ordway, located in St. Paul, to compete with Minneapolis’ restored State and Orpheum theaters for Broadway bookings. Arguments on the matter are to be made on June 8.

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