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Society Settles Suit, Readies Another

The Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers has won an out of court settlement on behalf of a choreographer, and now plans to file suit on behalf of a director. Both claimed their work was replicated by theaters without their permission.

In the first case, choreographer Peter Gennaro had sought $1 million in damages from Robert L. Young Associates of Indianapolis and Christopher B. Manos of Atlanta for their use of Gennaro’s original choreography in a touring production of “Annie.”

The amount of the settlement was not disclosed, but the producers promised in writing never again to lift a director’s or choreographer’s work.

In the second case, several attempts by the union to reach an agreement with Anthony De Santis, producer of the Drury Lane Oak Brook Theater near Chicago – over use of what it claimed was Gerald Gutierrez’s staging for a production of “The Most Happy Fella” – failed to resolve the issue.

Gutierrez staged an acclaimed revival of the show, which ran on Broadway in 1992. The union claims that staging not only was replicated at the Drury Lane without Gutierrez’s permission, but it was done by a non-union director. SSDC has instructed its lawyer to file a suit on behalf of Gutierrez.