Fake Broadway Play Starring Lupita Nyong’o at Center of New Criminal Case

fake broadway play Lupita Nyong'o
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The Manhattan District Attorney has indicted a former theater agent, Roland Scahill, for stealing $165,000 from investors in a phony Broadway play that would have starred Lupita N’yongo.

According to the office of the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance, Scahill, formerly an agent at William Morris and Gersh and now the owner of a firm called RMS2 Productions, is alleged to have fraudulently raised money from seven investors for a nonexistent one-woman show about the opera star Kathleen Battle, with Broadway’s Booth Theater lined up for a production that would star Nyong’o. Scahill also claimed a deal had been made with Netflix to film the play for its streaming platform.

Representatives for all those parties, however, had no knowledge of the project. (Academy Award-winning actress Nyong’o made her Broadway debut last season in “Eclipsed.”) Scahill has pled not guilty to the charges.

The D.A. said the scheme, which involved raising $15,000 per share in the fake production in exchange for subsidiary rights that would generate revenue in the future, began in October 2014 and stepped up with the Netflix claim in January 2015. After some investors demanded the return of their money in the fall of 2015, Scahill sent them checks that bounced, according to the indictment. He allegedly spent the funds on stocks, credit card payments and rent, among other things.

“Mr. Schahill has pled not guilty,” the attorney, James R. DeVita, said. “He is, therefore, entitled to the presumption of innocence.  He should receive that.”

No court date has yet been set.