It's Ladies Night at Toronto's New Yorker Theatre. No, not a promo offering free drinks, it's the hit play by Anthony McCarten and Stephen Sinclair, first performed in the playwrights' home country of New Zealand in 1987 -- where it became the biggest box office hit in New Zealand history. The show's won over Canadian audiences as well, and has been extended through Jan. 31, 1999.
Two years ago, authors McCarten and Sinclair sued Twentieth Century Fox, the producers of the film, "The Full Monty," claiming that the movie was plagiarized from their play dealing with virtually the same subject. The authors sought all the profits from the film -- more than 200 million dollars. A current production spokesperson told Playbill On-Line on Oct. 22, 1998 he was "not sure of the exact arrangements, but I think it's [the lawsuit] been cleared up."
But the story didn't end there. Producers for the New Yorker run initially subtitled the play "A Live Full Monty," hoping to bring in audience members who flocked to the Oscar-nominated film. Twentieth Century Fox retaliated, requesting that the producers stop using the "Full Monty" moniker -- to which they own they copyright. The producers quickly acquiesced and the play is now being billed Ladies' Night! "A Cheeky Comedy."
Ownership lawsuits are becoming a more and more common occurrence in the high grossing film world. Earlier this year, New York playwright Mark Dunn also filed a multi million dollar lawsuit against the producers of the film "The Truman Show" claiming that the movie was remarkably similar to his 1992 play, Frank's Life.
Ladies Night! runs through Jan. 31 at Toronto's New Yorker Theatre. For tickets ($40.50 - $46.50) or more information, call Ticket Master (416) 872-1111. -- By Sean McGrath and David Lefkowitz