Noises Off: Changing Lanes

NEW YORK — George Lane stunned Broadway when word leaked out in early March that William Morris’ senior VP was ankling the agency to go to Creative Artists. Nearly as seismic were the followup reports that Lane would not be traveling west, but rather staying put on legit turf to open CAA’s first Gotham office.

The big question remained: Which clients would he be taking to CAA?

The answer, finally, is a lot.

With Lane and fellow agent Michael Cardonick now ensconced in the agency’s Gotham digs, the CAA roster grows to include several newly signed directors: Robert Falls (“Long Day’s Journey Into Night”), Michael Mayer (“Thoroughly Modern Millie”), Matthew Warchus (“Life (x) 3”), Jonathan Kent (“Man of La Mancha”), Lonny Price (“Master Harold”), Scott Ellis (“The Look of Love”) and Laurence Boswell (“A Day in the Death of Joe Egg”).

Do we feel a monopoly coming on? That list joins such previously signed CAA helmers as Sam Mendes (“Gypsy”), David Leveaux (“Nine”) and David Petrarca (“Frog and Toad”). All together, these 10 have directed 13 of the 32 shows now running on Broadway.

Other longtime Lane clients who have signed on with Creative Artists include directors Dan Sullivan, James Lapine, Mark Lamos, Emily Mann, Kathleen Marshall, Sean Mathias, Jo Bonney and David Lee. New to CAA is “The Boy From Oz” helmer Phil McKinley.

Scribes make migration

CAA’s newly signed scribes include Kenneth Lonergan (“This Is Our Youth”), Warren Leight (“Side Man”), Eric Bogosian (“Suburbia”), Richard Greenberg (“Take Me Out”), Keith Bunin (“The Credeaux Canvas”), Chris Burns (“My Mother’s a Baby Boy”), Eve Ensler (“The Vagina Monologues”), Melissa Gibson (“sic”), Rebecca Gilman (“Spinning Into Butter”), Wendy Kesselman (“My Sister in This House”), Mark Saltzman (“The Red Sneakers”), Martin Sherman (“The Boy From Oz”), Nicky Silver (“Raised in Captivity”) and Erin Cressida Wilson (“Secretary”).

With its New York office, CAA adds Jon Robin Baitz, John Patrick Shanley and Peter Hedges as legit clients; the agency continues to rep them in film and television.

Others may switch

A CAA rep said other clients were in negotiations and would be added to the roster in the following days.

Not all of CAA’s newly signed clients hail from WMA, but many do.

“We remain firmly committed to theater,” said a William Morris rep. “We will make an announcement shortly on the future of our theater department.”

And so, the legit landscape shifts. In what direction remains to be seen. Will CAA bring more of its film and TV talent into the theater, or will Broadway’s best go west?

CAA’s Bryan Lourd sees no major trend one way or the other. “I hope this allows us to use some of our leverage to make theater easier for everyone concerned, including directors, playwrights and those who finance theater,” said the CAA partner.

The agency’s new Gotham offices open in the fall, and could grow into more than a two-agent operation.

“If George finds other people he wants to bring in from the core business of theater, yes. But we don’t foresee any movement of more traditional core movie or TV people to that office,” Lourd said.

‘Debbie’ goes Hollywood

CAA also has signed the Araca Group for representation in all areas. The legit producers are looking to the agency to help bring two of its stage properties to the screen: “Urinetown” and “Debbie Does Dallas.”

Araca already has partnered with Killer Films to turn its Tony-laden “Urinetown” into a movie musical. While the show’s creatives, Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann, are on board to adapt their book and score, other participants are up for grabs.

“CAA has a lot of clients who are right for the film version,” said Araca’s Hank Unger. He is a partner in the legit org with Michael and Matthew Rego.

The trio also are looking to turn their Off Broadway tuner “Debbie Does Dallas” into a movie. Araca had acquired theatrical as well as film rights to the classic porn film from distributor VCX Ltd. “We can develop ‘Debbie’ however we see fit,” Unger said, “except to remake it as a porno film. It will be a movie musical based on a porn movie.”

The producer compared the project to comedies like “American Pie” and “Bring It On.”

Unlike “Urinetown,” the creatives on the stage version of “Debbie” did work-for-hire, Unger said. Translation: Look for a new creative team on the movie musical.

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