The curtain came down Sunday afternoon on Sisterella at Melbourne's Regent Theatre,ending at least temporarily one of the most bitter feuds in Australian theatre history.
Producer Kevin Jacobsen and writer/director/performer Larry Hart have not been speaking for some time but have waged a war of words and insults through newspaper columnists. Given the show's poor box-office performance in Melbourne, Jacobsen wants to bring in esteemed Australian director Richard Wherrett to rework the show if a Sydney opening is to take place.He also wants to recast with an all-Australian cast including big name performers.Hart and his Business Manager Susan Joseph have declared publicly this would be a breach of his contract.
Jacobsen was quoted last week as saying his biggest mistake in a long career was "letting Hart run riot on this show". Hart has accussed Jacobsen of waging "a hate campaign that has been slanderous and criminal".
In his curtain speech yesterday Hart declared he "would not be run out of the country by Jacobsen". Yesterday's 'Sunday Age' newspaper ran a lengthy article by Red Symons, a cast member and noted TV personality,that was damming of Hart's directing ability. Jacobsen,who invested seven million dollars in the show,and had plans for overseas productions,did not attend the final performance.
The Jacobsen office today advised the Immigration Department that 'Sisterella' has closed pending confirmation of a Sydney season and that Hart's services are no longer required by them.This will have an immediate effect on his working visa. This animosity,combined with a pending lawsuit in California over the ownership of the show,cast severe doubt about the show's future.
--By Peter Ford