Saturday, October 29, 2016

How Important is a Billing in a Broadway Playbill: Lawsuit Important for 'The Great Comet'

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'Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812' has not yet officially opened on Broadway (it is currently in previews) but the production is already mired in behind-the-scenes in-fighting between producers.

A couple of weeks ago Michael Riedel wrote in the New York Post:
The Broadway community is riveted - and appalled - by what one veteran producer calls (producer Howard) Kagan's "bullyboy tactics" toward Ars Nova, the nonprofit theater that developed "The Great Comet" five years ago, and is now one of the show's many producers.

When Ars Nova complained that Kagan, a former Wall Street executive, refused to bill the show "The Ars Nova Production of . . ." as agreed in their contract, he threatened to upend their Dec. 5 benefit by scheduling the recording of the cast album that day. Cast members, including Josh Groban, are the benefit's featured attraction; if they're in the recording studio that day, they'll miss the benefit.

Playbill reported this week:
After back-and-forth discussions at Arts Nova, founding artistic director Jason Eagan, managing director Renee Blinkwolt and the "Gang at Ars Nova" (as they refer to themselves) have decided to take action. The Ars Nova board of directors voted unanimously the evening of October 27 to file suit for breach of contract - as stated in their letter to patrons - to "compel the commercial producers of The Great Comet to honor their contractural obligation to bill the show as 'The Ars Nova Production Of.'"

The suit, a copy of which was obtained by, names Howard Kagan alone as defendant. It was filed in New York State Supreme Court October 28.

The actors on stage, including leading man Josh Groan, has been quiet about the issue. Hope this does not delay the opening of the show and is resolved before then. Still some of the producers can't help think that this might be good advertising to get word out about the show.

Visit for info about and tickets to the production.


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