Broadway show 'Paradise Square' closes Sunday amid legal turmoil

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Friday, July 15, 2022
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"Paradise Square," the Broadway show that was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, is closing Sunday amid lawsuits and allegations of financial mismanagement that include not paying the performers.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- "Paradise Square," the Broadway show that was nominated for 10 Tony awards, is closing Sunday amid lawsuits and allegations of financial mismanagement that include not paying the performers after it failed to get strong ticket sales.

Paradise Square is about relations between Black and Irish New York City residents in the Civil War era.

The legal battle will continue over pay disputes long after the show closes.

Paradise Square actress, Joaquina Kalukango in her acceptance speech at the Tony Awards said she was proud of a story that gives power to American ancestors who suffered.

Fans are hoping to see the show one more time.

"So disappointed. Like there's other shows that are good but I think this one should not leave Broadway," Natalia Caicedo said.

"I feel like this story, like a lot of people should hear it, like it's especially important being in New York," Olga Caicedo said.

The show's offstage financial drama has the union that represents the actors putting producer Garth Drabinsky on its "do not work" list for members, starting next week after the show closes.

Drabinsky served multiple years in prison for past financial crimes. This was supposed to be his Broadway comeback.

"He should have never been allowed to produce, period. And shouldn't be allowed to produce any more in the theater industry," Actors Equity Association Assistant Executive Director- Eastern Region Calandra Hackney said.

Actors Equity Association and at least one other theater employees union are suing the production company over unpaid wages and benefits to their members earlier in the production.

But just this week, one of the actors posted a video on TikTok standing outside the theater saying he and others did not receive their weekly paycheck and questioning where the money is going.

"We did the show. We give our heart, some of us play slaves on stage every night and we did not receive payment," actor Jamal Christopher Douglas said.

They did eventually receive payment. But their union says there has been a lack of financial solvency from the producers from the beginning, which doomed the show.

"When you can't ensure payment, contractually obligated payment, to those workers who are showing up every day, you would have no option but to close," Hackney said.

The show's production company declined to comment.

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