This past summer, news broke that Music Theatre International Inc.(MTI) filed a lawsuit against Theaterpalooza Community Theater Productions, Inc and its owner, Teresa Walker.
The issue centered on Theaterpalooza’s 16 unauthorized productions of MTI titles over the past three years. Even despite warnings and cease and desist communication, Walker and her group continued to perform the material without paying for the rights.
MTI filed the lawsuit in early June and the court proceedings have been underway ever since. However, the last update on the case is that emails of court requests were returned due to an email address being deleted.
While Theaterpalooza is fighting one legal issue, more could be on the horizon.
Due to the fact that they have not been able to pay their rent, Theaterpalooza has been evicted from their performance space. According to the landlord, Kirby Whyte, Walker and her group owe $over $30,000 in back rent, common charges and gas and electric payments. However, it appears that Walker and her crew have skipped town because they left the space in shambles and even abandoned two of their school buses.
“They left the space in a complete mess,” White says. “It took two dumpsters for their crap that was left behind. They abandoned two of their small school buses which have been towed to the dump.”
White added that the amount owed also include $4,000 for clean up of the space.
But White’s case against Walker and her theatre endeavors is likely going to be just another of the many legal issues she’s been involved with over the years.
According to sources and documents submitted to OnStage Blog, there have been over a dozen court filings and judgments against Walker and her various theatre groups. The judgments range from unpaid rent to unpaid employees totaling over $235,000. According to the documents, only one of the judgments has been paid while many have been sent to debt collectors.
We’ve also been told by parents who have not been refunded performance fees for abruptly canceled productions due to issues with Walker.
It’s unclear whether or not Walker is continuing to produce theatre. The last update I was told was that she was trying to change the name of her theatre group and still collect money from aspiring youth performers. I sincerely hope not.