Michael Miller, CEO and executive producer of AMTSJ, said in a statement, "We received a telephone call a few days ago from our co-producer for Tarzan, which was the Theater of the Stars in Atlanta, Georgia basically telling us that they had used all of the funds that we had paid them towards the production for other things. In essence, they cancelled the show without giving us any warning, and we discovered that the funds we had paid for Tarzan were spent on another production of theirs, which lost a significant amount of money."
Representatives for AMTSJ state that the company advanced Theater of the Stars roughly a quarter of a million dollars for the planned presentation of Tarzan that was to result in a mini-tour in conjunction with Dallas Summer Musicals.
Even in the face of the current economic climate, AMTSJ stated that their business plan would have allowed them to continue; however, the loss of the six figure investment in Tarzan, coupled with a lack of anticipated revenue from the intended production (estimated at nearly $2 million), crippled the California theatre venue. AMTSJ had already sold $800,000 in advance ticket sales for Tarzan, and public sales were to have begun Dec. 4.
Legal action is currently being pursued against Atlanta's Theater of the Stars.
American Musical Theatre of San Jose's Miller stated, "We are devastated for this community, our staff, and most of all for our loyal patrons. It is especially frustrating because of how hard we have worked, how sound our plan going forward has been, and because of the history and heritage of the American Musical Theatre of San Jose. This is a sad moment for all of us. We will aggressively pursue our claim against the Theater of the Stars to recover whatever money we can to pay the City of San Jose, our vendors and our loyal patrons for their good faith investment in AMTSJ." While the resident productions of Tarzan and 42nd Street have been canceled, representatives for AMTSJ confirm that the national tour of Chicago will still arrive in San Jose in January 2009, and the company is currently working to salvage the touring engagement of Avenue Q, which would run in March 2009.
The Theater of the Stars-San Jose production of Tarzan would have marked the regional premiere of the musical, which features a book by David Henry Hwang and a score by Phil Collins. Tony nominee Lynne Taylor-Corbett was scheduled to direct the production with scenic design by Kenneth Foy, aerial design by Paul Rubin and lighting design by Ken Billington.