Great Comet and Ars Nova Say Contract Dispute “Resolved”

News   Great Comet and Ars Nova Say Contract Dispute “Resolved” Broadway producers agree to change Playbill billing.
Phillipa Soo in <i>Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812</i>
Phillipa Soo in Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 Chad Batka

Broadway producers of the musical Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 say they have settled a contract dispute with Ars Nova, the Off-Broadway company that developed the show and hosted its first production.

As previously reported on Playbill.com, after weeks of negotiations, Ars Nova filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court last week demanding that commercial producers Howard and Janet Kagan adhere to a contract that requires them to bill the show as “The Ars Nova production of . . .” in the Playbill. When the show started previews, billing materials omitted the words “production of” and simply listed Ars Nova last among 38 other above-the-title producers in the Playbill.

The producers relented October 31 and offered to restore the correct billing if Ars Nova withdrew the suit. After a day-and-a-half of meetings, Ars Nova and The Great Comet producers released the following joint statement late on the afternoon of November 2:

Ars Nova and the producers of The Great Comet deeply regret that a contractual dispute became public, and are pleased to share that the matter has now been resolved, privately, and will continue to work to achieve success for The Great Comet on Broadway.

Specific terms of the resolution were not made public.

Ars Nova said in a letter to the theatre community last week that the billing issue is important to a small Off-Broadway company like themselves: “That narrative—that the show people are seeing on Broadway is, at its core, the show that started at Ars Nova, is extremely valuable to Ars Nova’s past, present and future, and is communicated to the tens of thousands of people seeing The Great Comet on Broadway each week only through our title page billing.”

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