The Playgoer: And now for something completely different...

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Friday, February 17, 2006

And now for something completely different...

Ok, it's Friday, so let's get tawdry. New York Post style.

We all know actors are supposed to be whores, but what does that make producers? Well one of our hipper younger female producers has been paying tribute to the days of the old men's club "casting couch, to miserable and embarassing effect on today's front page of the tabloid. She's now being sued for sexual harrassment by many actors.

Some highlights from Michael Riedel's shamefully fun scoop:

Dede Harris, the Tony Award-winning producer of "Hairspray," "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and "A Raisin in the Sun," failed to disclose allegations of past sexual harassment to the co-producers of her current off Broadway play, "Dog Sees God," they charge in court papers....

Her conduct, the suit says, has "caused one or more cast members" to leave the show. The actors are not named in the suit, but in recent weeks, Ian Somerhalder ("Lost"), Eliza Dushku ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and America Ferrera ("Real Women Have Curves") have all left "Dog Sees God." Two production sources said the breast Harris allegedly "grabbed" was Ferrera's.

"Dog Sees God," a satire about the "Peanuts" characters created by Charles Schulz, opened to poor reviews at the Century Theater in December and has been struggling to stay open ever since. In their suit, Stern and his partners say that during a game of "Truth or Dare" with the cast, Harris "directed one or more of the male DSG ['Dog Sees God'] cast members to 'feel her up.' "
As for the poor dramatist of the suddenly sympathetic oddity of a play involved...
Bert V. Royal, who wrote the play and says he "had a lot of differences with Dede" during rehearsals, says the experience has been "upsetting" for him and his cast.
"I'm writing screenplays now," he said, "and I probably won't write another play. I was really scared of Hollywood, but frankly they've been a lot nicer to work with."
The actors seem to emerge the wisest of the bunch, though:
The dispute has gotten so ugly, the cast has banned all producers from the theater.
Thankfully for Harris, at least one non-teenage celebrity actor, though, seems to have taken her advances in stride:
The suit also claims that Harris "sexually harassed" Gabriel Byrne when he starred in "The Exonerated." A source who knows both Harris and Byrne says the producer was often "overly flirtatious" with the actor, but that the two are on friendly terms.
Long live the commercial theatre! And let's hope Harris is up for another Tony real soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love how the "playwright" uses this as an excuse to never write another play.