The Playgoer: Urinetown dispute "getting uglier"

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Urinetown dispute "getting uglier"

The Urinetown debate rages on. Not only in the papers, but on this blog! Check out the extended discussion going on under the previous post's Comments.

Meanwhile, Variety's Gordon Cox stays on the case, with this surprising development:

The "Urinetown" dispute is getting uglier.

Joseph P. McDonnell, who directed the original 1999 production of "Urinetown" at the New York Intl. Fringe Fest, is accusing the team that staged the Broadway version of the musical of plagiarizing some of his contributions to the show.

Maddening, perhaps. But inevitable. The genie is out of the bottle. Even one who supports the idea of director copyright in principle has to acknowledge that there could be no end to the claims. And, hey, who am I to say McDonnell doesn't have a case?

One reassuring thought is that this is what courts are for. Nothing wrong with people making claims. As long as there are responsible judges to resolve them. I am aware of my uncharacteristic optimism there. Plus, getting tied up in court and legal fees is no fun. But the movement is out there, so a clear ruling is badly needed.

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