The creative team of the recent Chicago production of “Urinetown” is firing back against its Gotham accusers, serving the Broadway creators of the show with a lawsuit seeking declaratory judgments and monetary damages.
The Chi creatives, along with the producers of an Akron, Ohio, production of “Urinetown,” have been under fire since the Gotham team publicly accused both productions Nov. 13 of staging detailed copies of the Rialto production of the tuner.
Akron’s Carousel Dinner Theater responded Nov. 22 with a lawsuit asking the court to decide who owns which creative elements involved in the productions.
The new lawsuit from the Chicago side goes one better: It seeks not only judgment on that issue but also monetary damages for defamatory statements.
“This has been incredibly damaging to my entire team and to myself,” said Tom Mullen, director and producer of the Chicago production, which closed a brief, financially disappointing run earlier this year.
Named in the suit are Broadway director John Rando, choreographer John Carrafa, and set designer Scott Pask, among others.
“We haven’t seen the papers yet, but we were trying to give them every opportunity to share information with us and show us we were wrong,” said attorney Ronald H. Shechtman, who reps the Rialto team in the dispute, as well as the two unions that rep directors and designers.
“If this is how they want to react, then a court may be the best place to resolve this,” he said.
While Mullen expressed anger that the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers, of which he is a member, would press a legal action against two of its own members, he also said he supported the idea behind the action — that is, the recognition of the contributions of directors and designers in licensing agreements.
“I’m in full support of the union on this case, but not through extortion after the fact,” he said.
No timeline has yet been determined for either the Chicago or the Akron case.