Playwright Matthew Lombardo is suing the owner of copyrights for Dr. Seuss’ works, according to the New York Times. Lombardo’s new Christmas comedy, Who’s Holiday!, was canceled this past fall due to a sudden rights issue, but the playwright is arguing that the show does not infringe on the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Who’s Holiday! was to star Jennifer Simard as Cindy Lou Who, the fictional character from Dr. Seuss’ classic Christmas tale. The world-premiere run, set to begin November 2 at New World Stages, was canceled less than a month before the first performance due to a complaint from Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
Reps for the show were unable to elaborate on specifics behind the rights issues, but said the production would not take place this season. Refunds were offered for those who purchased tickets.
As reported in the Times, Lombardo’s lawsuit was filed December 27 in United States District Court in Manhattan. It argues that his solo play, Who’s Holiday!, is “highly transformative,” and constitutes fair use. Simard, who will be part of the cast of the revival of Hello, Dolly! in the spring, was to star as a now middle-aged Cindy living in a beaten-down trailer in the hills of Mount Crumpit. The story takes place on Christmas Eve, as she prepares to host a party for her friends and recalls the first time she met the Grinch.
Directed by Carl Andress, the nine-week engagement was scheduled to run Off-Broadway through the holiday season.
The design team included David Gallo (sets), Ken Billington (lighting), and Jess Goldstein (costumes). Producers of Who’s Holiday include R. Erin Craig, Gene Fisch, Jason Shaw, Scott and Jenny Beck in association with Foresight Theatrical.
Lombardo’s plays Looped and High played on Broadway in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
For more information visit whosholiday.com.