Lahr, known for his books on theatre and pop culture, and reviews, essays and reporting in The New Yorker, says he is owed money for the work he did on Stritch's one-woman biographical show that played Off-Broadway, Broadway and beyond. The show was also recorded on a cast album. He filed the lawsuit the week of June 22.
Elaine Stritch At Liberty won the 2002 Tony Award as Best Special Theatrical Event. Stritch is a Broadway veteran of Company, Sail Away, Goldilocks, Pal Joey and Harold Prince's Show Boat. She's currently starring in The Full Monty at Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey.
Lahr's official Playbill credit on Elaine Strtich At Liberty — first seen at The Public Theater prior to a Broadway bow — was "constructed by." In the Playbill, Stritch got a "reconstructed by" credit.
Lahr is claiming in a Manhattan Supreme Court filing that he is owed a royalty every time Stritch presents the show in a special engagement.
"He made it possible for me to do my show, so I'm indebted to him for life," Stritch told the Post. "I have nothing bad to say about him. I don't want to have dinner with him tonight, but I'm very fond of him."
The paper reported that Lahr is seeking unspecified damages, restitution and 20 percent of the gross that Stritch earns for performing the show.