Following a court battle between its producer and its authors, the Off Off Broadway Princess Diana musical, Queen of Hearts , will finally begin performances at the Grove Street Playhouse on Wednesday, Oct. 7, after several canceled performances.
An official statement released by the show's publicist read "The authors of Queen of Hearts view this production as a work in progress and disavow themselves from the Grove Street Playhouse production, which they feel does not represent their vision. The producer believes that viewers will find this a very enjoyable production."
Producer Marilyn Majeski and authors Stephen Stahl (librettist) and Claudia Perry (composer) faced off yesterday in Federal District Court, before Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Stahl and Perry asserted that Majeski had violated her contract with them "by rehearsing the play with a cast not approved by the author" and by "preventing Perry from exercising her approval of the musical arranger/director," according to the New York Post. Majeski, in turn, charged that Stahl and Perry were only trying to get out of the contract to accept a more lucrative offer.
A source close to the proceedings terms the outcome a "compromise." Producer Marilyn Majeski could not be reached and her voice mail at the Grove Street was full and would no longer take messages. Stahl has not returned repeated calls.
The musical has been through some turmoil since first being announced last summer. As reported in The Daily News Sept. 16, producer Marilyn Majeski and Stahl clashed over whether the librettist would direct the piece. When Stahl was forced out and replaced by Christopher Casoria, he and Perry tried to wrest control of the show away from Majeski. According to sources, a flurry of lawsuits followed, and Stahl even succeeded in getting four cast members to mutiny and abandon the production, including the performer playing Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Hearts follows the life story of Diana Spencer, who rose from middle-class life to become the Princess of England, but then divorced Prince Charles and died in a terrible car crash with her rich boyfriend, Dodi Fayed.
The troubled show was originally scheduled to open Oct. 2. The show's press agent said theatregoers holding tickets for the canceled shows were contacted by Majeski and offered alternative dates to attend the musical.
For tickets ($20-$35) and information on Queen of Hearts, scheduled for a five-week run at the Grove Street Playhouse (Seventh Ave. & West 4th St.) call (212) 741-6436.
-- By Robert Simonson and David Lefkowitz