At an Oct. 10 press event announcing the Chicago arrival of his latest show, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Stone—citing the critic's behavior at an earlier Wicked press gathering—denied Weiss access.
According to the Sun-Times, public relations executive Margie Korshak called Weiss to tell her she wasn't welcome at the event. Weiss showed up anyway and was refused entrance. The paper also reported that, at the press preview—which was attended by reporters from the Chicago Tribune—Stone called out Weiss' name and then said, "She can't be here because she's in detention."
Stone later issued a written statement quoted by the daily. He said that the source of his ire was Weiss' behavior at an Wicked press gathering last spring. "In March, at a press event to announce the sit down production of Wicked, Ms. Weiss behaved erratically and unprofessionally," Stone wrote. "...I couldn't tolerate Ms. Weiss' inappropriate behavior again today when I was playing host to very important members of the theatrical community."
Weiss said the March occurrence involved only her complaining about what she perceived as the production's favoring of the Tribune over the Sun Times, saying the rival paper had been given advance information about Wicked's Chicago mounting.
"Barring a reporter from being able to cover her beat is a bush league stunt," Sun-Times editor in chief John Barron said. Last May, Weiss gave the producer's Chicago production of Wicked a less than rave review. Director Joe Mantello was so incensed by the notice that he responded in print.
Chicago will enjoy Broadway's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for a spell starting March 2006, when the musical begins an open ended run at the Drury Lane Theatre. David Stone will present the work along with Broadway In Chicago. James Lapine will again direct the musical by composer-lyricist William Finn, librettist Rachel Sheinkin and conceiver Rebecca Feldman.