Monday, May 27, 2024

Tony Awards Headscratcher: 10 Noms for “Paradise Square” Even Though Criminal Produced It, Critics Hated It


Here’s a mystery.

The Tony Awards gave 10 nominations including Best Musical to “Paradise Square.”

The critics hated it. The producer is a famous criminal.

And yet, here it is.

Producer Garth Drabinsky, where do we start? Convicted and sent to prison in 2009 for fraud and forgery in Canada. He was disbarred from the Canada Bar Association. This was after he bankrupted his company, Livent, to the tune of $338 million.

His investors won a $23 million settlement against him in the US after he defrauded them.

For years, Drabinsky was prevented from traveling to the US from Canada. That was dismissed only because a US judge ruled that Drabinsky had already been prosecuted fully in Canada.

When “Paradise Square” first started previews on Broadway, there were stories about payroll problems, among other things.

None of the major outlets liked the show. The New York Times, the Post, the trades, all panned it.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said there are no second acts in American lives. But after a long intermission spent in court rooms, Garth Drabinsky is now performing his second act. What’s really amazing is the number of investors who jumped in with him this time, including one — Peter LeDonne– who was a main player in Drabinsky’s failed productions of “Barrymore” and “Candide” in 1997. Some people never learn.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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