As BroadwayWorld previously reported, Actors’ Equity will place Paradise Square producer Garth Drabinsky on the company’s Do Not Work list due to “exceptional payouts and benefits, and an ongoing pattern of abuse and negligence that has created an unsafe and toxic work environment.”
In a letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, members of the production company spoke out against Drabinsky, urging the union to take action against the producer.
The letter reads as follows:
“Members of the National Actors Equity Council,
Since working on square of paradise began in Chicago in the fall of 2021, a single person made all executive decisions surrounding production. This person is not the producer of the record, but it is well known that they have full control and therefore no action can be taken against them. They denied benefits and wages to many company members and created an unsafe, toxic, and often hostile work environment. When presented with these concerns on the part of the company, this individual was continually dismissive, defensive and often abusive.
As it was said of this person, “every day there’s a new way to disrespect someone”, and today is no different. We did not receive our final payment in the form of direct deposit, and with this producer’s non-payment history, this is a major concern.
Therefore, due to overdue payments and benefits, and an ongoing pattern of abuse and neglect that has created an unsafe and toxic work environment, the Paradise Square Company requests that Garth H. Drabinsky be placed on the fairness of the actors. list, effective July 18, 2022.
-Company members of “Paradise Square”
We absolutely loved bringing this show to New York audiences, but we never should have endured the circumstances we went through to do it, and no one ever should.”
The decision to add Drabinsky, who was jailed for 17 months in Canada after being found guilty of fraud and forgery as a producer, to the Do Not Work list comes after the production failed to pay his salary by weekly direct deposit Thursday morning.
“The Paradise Square company has expressed its commitment to this show and wishes to continue telling this story until its scheduled closure on July 17. However, Garth Drabinsky has made it clear that he is unable to meet the terms of a contract union, then Equity intends to add it to our Do Not Work list immediately following…” Equity said.
Company members were told that physical checks would be made available at the theater on Thursday evening instead of direct deposit, following a meeting with the union on Thursday afternoon. Actors’ Equity members received a deposit on Thursday night, and other production members will receive paper checks.
The production had originally planned to use the bond with Actors’ Equity in the event of a producer’s default for this week’s deposits, but this was not allowed and a co-producer would have funded the checks.
As previously reported, Actors’ Equity and United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 are suing Paradise Square for $350,000 in dues, salaries and other owed fees, and this week’s salary issues add to that ongoing litigation.
Paradise Square failed to meet a payment schedule set out in a settlement agreement with Actors’ Equity in May, and Equity is now separately seeking $189,877 in unpaid union dues and contributions and interest from the fund. benefits.
This story is developing.