Ohio production accused of plagiarizing

The legal dispute between the Broadway creatives of “Urinetown” and an Ohio production accused of plagiarizing elements of the Rialto staging has been settled.

The team behind the contested 2006 incarnation of musical “Urinetown” at the Carousel Dinner Theater in Akron, Ohio, acknowledged there were similarities between the Carousel staging and the Broadway version and will pay a fee to members of the Gotham creative team, including helmer John Rando, choreographer John Carrafa, lighting designer Brian MacDevitt, costume designer Gregory Gale and set designer Scott Pask.

The Ohio case was one of two lawsuits brought in late 2006 by the Rialto team of “Urinetown,” with the backing of two unions, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and United Scenic Artists, against regional stagings of the tuner.

The case against a 2006 Chicago incarnation of the musical was resolved in November 2007, with those involved in that production agreeing to pay the Broadway team an undisclosed sum.

The SSDC took the New York side in the “Urinetown” legal disputes in a attempt to bolster its longstanding argument for the establishment of a director’s copyright on certain staging choices. Scribe union the Dramatists Guild of America has objected to this push in an effort to protect revenues for its member playwrights.

“Urinetown” originated in a 1999 New York Intl. Fringe Fest production, although many of the musical’s Broadway creatives joined the project when the tuner was picked up for a commercial Off Broadway run. That staging transferred to the Rialto in 2001, winning three Tonys and running more than two years.

The Akron production team included helmer Jennifer Cody, who appeared as an actor in the Broadway version, and Carousel a.d. Sean Cercone, among others.

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