Paradise Square producer Garth Drabinsky will be added to the Actors’ Equity “Do Not Work” list after cast and crew members sent a letter to their union complaining about his alleged behavior. The Hollywood Reporter obtained the letter asking the Broadway producer be on the list due to “outstanding payments and benefits, and a continued pattern of abuse and neglect that created an unsafe and toxic work environment.” Crew and company members had several issues with receiving payment for their work. They were promised physical checks instead of direct deposit but had concerns about checks bouncing. It escalated when members reported not receiving their direct deposit on July 14, leading to the report to the union. The general manager of the production, Jeffrey Chrzczon, believed they could use the Actors’ Equity bond for the week’s salary for union members, but it was not allowed to be used per union rules. They instead had to use funding from one of the shows’ co-producers to pay the crew, which caused a delay in payment.
Paradise Square cast members wanted Drabinsky on the “Do Not Work” list specifically as he is “one person making all executive decisions surrounding the production.” Back in 2009, he was also convicted of fraud in Canada for “misstating finances as head of a publicly traded theater company” in the ’90s. He was permanently banned from becoming a director or officer of any public company in Ontario and from acting as an investment promoter. Paradise Square, which closes on July 17, was his first big theater production back after serving 17 months in prison in Canada.
A spokesperson for the Actors’ Equity union told THR that: “The company of Paradise Square has expressed their commitment to this show and want to continue to tell this story through its planned closing on July 17. However, Garth Drabinsky has made it clear that he is unable to uphold the terms of a union contract, so Equity intends to add him to our Do Not Work list immediately afterwards.” The Actors’ Equity is also suing Paradise Square for unpaid union dues totaling $189,877 and unpaid wages to staff. The production failed to keep up with the settlement agreement, leading to a lawsuit.