Issue Over Two Different "To Kill a Mockingird" Scripts are Forcing Local Theatres to Cancel Upcoming Productions

Issue Over Two Different "To Kill a Mockingird" Scripts are Forcing Local Theatres to Cancel Upcoming Productions

This Spring, Curtain Call Theatre in Braintree, MA was set to produce To Kill a Mockingbird. However, after auditions were held and rehearsals were set, the theatre was forced to cancel their production due to legal threats they received from lawyers representing Scott Rudin, the lead producer the currently running Broadway show of the same name.

Normally this would be pretty cut and dry, except for the fact that Curtain Call was set to perform an entirely different script licensed by a different company. And that issue is causing problems worldwide and might even end up in a court battle of its own.

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Bringing the Barricades to New Jersey

Bringing the Barricades to New Jersey

Gas Lamp Players, located in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, is doing something that most youth theatre companies would rather not do- putting on one of the most well-known musicals of all time- Les Misérables. I was able to talk to Broadway Veteran Stephen Buntrock, who played Enjolras, leader of the student revolutionaries, during the Broadway run of the show in 1997-1998 who is co-directing this complicated production alongside Kristy Graves. 

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Will MTI Ever Get the Money They're Owed from Theaterpalooza?

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News broke yesterday that Music Theatre International(MTI) had been awarded $450,000 in damages in addition to attorney’s fees in its copyright infringement case against Theaterpalooza Community Theater Productions, Inc.

This was no surprise given the fact that Theaterpalooza and its founder, Teri Walker, had been blatantly producing MTI properties without permission and paying licensing fees for years. In fact, the VA and MD community theatre company had produced 16 unauthorized productions.

MTI said it plans to donate some of the damages to Jumpstart Theatre, a program created in part by MTI that brings theater programs to underserved communities.

While I’m thrilled for MTI, I’m concerned that they will never see a dime from Walker. Reason being, she has yet to pay for previous judgments against her and her business entities.

According to documents submitted exclusively 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 the rest have been sent to debt collectors. If she hasn’t paid back the money she already owes, then I doubt she’s going to pay back the half a million owed to MTI.

Teresa Walker….or Grosze now

Teresa Walker….or Grosze now

Also, Theaterpalooza has been evicted from their performance space in Ashburn, VA. 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.

In court records, it looks like Walker shut down their email address as communications were returned as “Mail Returned as Undeliverable”. Also, the phone number on their website has been shut down as well. That’s not a good sign when you’re trying to collect a half a million from these people.

In an effort to try to rebuild her crumbling reputation and past business indiscretions, Walker has changed the name of her group at least three times since the story broke this summer. They went from Theaterpalooza to I Creative Artts Centers to Nova Creative Arts Centers and now their Twitter account is listed as Art Lab 4 Kids.

But it’s clear that Walker is trying to pay for her past mistakes by making new ones. According to the group’s website, they were planning on performing productions of “Harry Potter,” “Anastasia”, “The Greatest Showman” and “ The Snow Queen” which design matched identical to “Frozen”. None of these have licensed material yet for amateur groups. Given their legal problems and eviction, I’m not sure if these productions ever opened. But if they did, that means more issues are on the horizon for Teri Walker and her crew.

Needless to say, I’m happy for MTI but I’m doubtful that they will ever see a dime from Walker given her past issues.

UPDATE: Apparently shortly after this news all broke, Teri Walker has changed the name of her business again. They are now going by Teri Grosze Arts Eduction(Seriously, you can’t make this up). Pics of the new name were sent to us. Since she has changed her name, I would advise anyone looking to be involved with this group about Ms. Walker’s…I mean Ms. Grosze’s past.

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"The Laramie Project" is Personal for CT Director

"The Laramie Project" is Personal for CT Director

This year, The Laramie Project is sure to be one of the most produced plays across the country. In fact, usually is regardless of what year it is. But for one director in CT, the play is all the more personal. Because while much of the world knows Matthew through this play and his story, Shannon-Courtney Denihan got to know him while they were friends in college.

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MTI Sues Children's Theatre Group Over Unpaid Licensing Fees

MTI Sues Children's Theatre Group Over Unpaid Licensing Fees

Over the past couple of years, Theaterpalooza Community Theater Productions, Inc. has been producing shows such as Matilda, Seussical, Little Shop of Horrors, and Honk!

The only problem is, the Virginia theatre company apparently, hasn't been paying licensing fees to do so. And now, Music Theatre International (MTI) has come to collect. 

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Why Exactly was Patrick Dorow Fired from Patrick Dorow Productions?

Why Exactly was Patrick Dorow Fired from Patrick Dorow Productions?

Last month, it was announced that Patrick Dorow, the Founder and Artistic Director of Patrick Dorow Productions(PDP), had been unanimously fired from his position. While it's not uncommon that theatre leaders are fired, it's rare that the namesake of the organization is the one getting the boot. It's also even more rare that the company keeps their name on the marquee afterward. 

But that's exactly what's happening in Portsmouth, NH at PDP. And the mystery swirling around its founder's departure has some in the community asking if more information should be provided. 

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