More bad news for Paradise Square producer Garth Drabsinky, who in recent days has been added to Actors' Equity Association's "Do Not Work" list while also facing legal actions brought by two American theatrical unions regarding outstanding payments and allegations of unsafe work environments.
Now, Canadian Actors' Equity Association—representing performers, directors, choreographers, fight directors, intimacy directors, and stage managers in Canada—will join American Equity and bar its members from working with the Toronto-based producer. Drabinsky has mounted a number of productions in Canada, including pre-Broadway tryouts of Show Boat, Ragtime, and Kiss of the Spider Woman.
CAEA has not, however, placed Drabinsky on its "Defaulting Engagers" list, since Drabinsky's current issues pertain solely to productions under AEA's jurisdiction. CAEA members are prohibited from working with Drabinsky due to a reciprocal agreement between CAEA and AEA, but their official statement leaves room for the possibility of Drabinsky to hire and work with both CAEA and AEA members in the future following the resolution of all current legal issues surrounding Paradise Square's Broadway and pre-Broadway runs.
According to CAEA Communications Director Randy Duniz, CAEA is "instructing our members not to work for Garth Drabinsky or any company he may be associated with until such time as all outstanding amounts have been paid owing to the members or AEA, all legal actions associated with Paradise Square have been resolved to AEA’s satisfaction, and AEA has removed Garth Drabinsky from their 'Do Not Work' list."
Whether or not AEA will ever allow its members to work with the embattled producer remains an "ongoing internal conversation" according to AEA representatives, who shared "the issues are more than just financial."
American Actors' Equity added Drabinsky to its "Do Not Work" list July 17 shortly following the final Broadway performance of Paradise Square at the request of the production's actors and stage managers. The move renders Drabinsky unable to hire members of Actors' Equity, effectively ending his ability to produce on Broadway and at many major theatrical venues across the country, many of which operate under contracts requiring the use of Equity performers.
This current spate of legal drama is not the first for Drabinsky. The Tony-winning Ragtime and Show Boat producer was convicted of fraud and forgery in 2009 in Canada following the dissolution of his production company Livent. Paradise Square was Drabinsky's first Broadway outing since being granted parole and released from prison in 2014. Equity also put a stop work order on the production earlier this year following contract disputes, a move that lasted only one day.