Since 1991, Goodspeed Musicals — respected for its revivals and new works at Goodspeed Opera House and Norma Terris Theatre — has been publishing the glossy quarterly devoted to the heritage of musical theatre. Last fall, Goodspeed staffers had hoped the company might find a white knight to support the money-losing magazine but that has apparently not happened. Las Vegas-based Preeo, 64, a passionate theatre fan who founded the magazine as a scrappy newsletter in 1981 before partnering with Goodspeed 10 years later, is seeking his own funding and hopes to reinvent the magazine.
"I haven't been able to do anything with this because in my view Goodspeed never gave it back to me," a frustrated Preeo told Playbill On-Line May 20. "It was for my own protection that I haven't pursued restarting it yet."
As of 2002, the magazine was thought to have had a subscribership of about 5,000, Preeo said.
Goodspeed spokesman Dan McMahon said Price and members of the company were surprised to learn that Preeo had filed suit in federal court in New Haven May 19 for the return of the magazine, per a 1996 signed agreement between Preeo and Goodspeed producer Michael P. Price. The agreement says Preeo gets sole ownership if publication stops, according to Preeo. The founding editor claims that since August 2002 Price has not personally returned requests to resolve the issue of ownership. Price was not available to comment May 20.
McMahon said May 20 that Goodspeed is working toward returning the magazine to Preeo's "sole ownership," and that some of that process began earlier this year with the return of materials such as subscriber and advertiser lists. Preeo acknowledged some material has been sent to his lawyer this spring. "We were surprised [by news of the lawsuit]," McMahon said. "We don't dispute that Show Music is his and we're in the process of executing some of the points of the contract and working out a few of the others. We're in the midst of a final resolution."
Preeo also said he is owed a yearly royalty of $10,000 since Goodspeed is still using the Show Music name on its website, despite the fact that subscribers were told in October 2002 that the publication was being suspended.