By Robert Simonson
27 Jan 1999
Being stiffed by Livent has now become a family affair.
Gwen Verdon, choreographer Bob Fosse's widow and collaborator, and Nicole Fosse, Verdon and the theatre giant's daughter, have joined Livent's ever-growing list of creditors. The duo, both critically involved in the creation of the Livent revue Fosse, filed a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Jan. 27 demanding payment of royalties from the beleaguered and bankrupt theatrical producing company.
Verdon and Fosse both cut deals with Livent back in 1996, when the now- deposed and indicted impresario Garth Drabinsky still headed the organization. Fosse agree to grant Livent the use of Bob Fosse's image, as well as examples of his direction, choreography and concepts from such shows as Dancin', Big Deal and Chicago. Verdon, meanwhile, agreed not only to grant the use of intellectual property, but also offered advice and artistic assistance in the creation of Fosse.
For her contributions, Verdon was awarded two sets of royalties: one, for "advice and assistance," of .25 percent of Fosse's gross weekly box office receipts; and another .25 percent of box office receipts for the use of Fosse's image and works. Nicole Fosse was also granted a share of the show's royalties.
According to court papers, Livent currently owes Verdon $2,815.46. Fosse is owed $2,162.12.
Joshua Angel, Verdon and Fosse's attorney, could not say for certain when the mother and daughter have last received a royalty check or if, indeed, they had ever received one.
"Absent of assumption of these agreements," said the filing, "the movants submit that the debtors would no longer have the right to continue to produce performances of Fosse." The filing went on to say that, without Fosse, it was doubtful Livent could continue as a functioning company.
Livent had no specific comment, expect to say, "the company believes it is meeting all its post [bankruptcy] petition contractual obligations."
Fosse is currently playing on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre.
[See related Jan. 27 story on Garth Drabinsky.]