The New York Post cited court papers filed by Allen, who wrote original blues music for Cat, alleging that Howard confronted the composer while he sat at the piano during an afternoon rehearsal Jan. 24, 2008. Howard allegedly punched Allen repeatedly in the face and head.
Musician Allen is asking for $5 million, saying that his ability to play music is threatened.
Allen is reportedly the brother of Debbie Allen, who directed the unique African-American-cast revival of the Tennessee Williams classic. It ran 125 performances and 27 previews at the Broadhurst Theatre. Helping to create the Mississippi Delta-blues atmosphere, director Allen had a roaming saxophone player, Gerald Hayes, open each act, playing work apparently created by composer Tex Allen.
Previews began Feb. 12 toward a March 6 opening. Performances continued to June 22. Phylicia Rashad (A Raisin in the Sun, Gem of the Ocean) and James Earl Jones (Fences, On Golden Pond) starred as Big Mama and Big Daddy, respectively, and Howard ("Hustle and Flow," "Iron Man") played their troubled son, Brick. It was Howard's Broadway debut.
There was talk of a possible run of this Cat in London, but no progress about such a booking has been announced.