Schubert Org Files Complaint Against Stewart

By Christian
May 3, 2000 - 8:06 PM

After Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard) recently stunned audiences by publicly denouncing the producers of his new Broadway play 'The Ride Down Mt. Morgan', in a speech delivered after the end of a play performance (see our report on this). According to a new article by Michael Riedel at the New York Post, the Schubert Organisation has now retaliated by filing a formal complaint against Stewart with Actors Equity.

According to the New York Post, the basis of the complaint is that Stewart's attack on the producers was an 'improper' ad lib, violating a section of the Equity contract called 'Duties of an Actor'. That section requires actors to perform a show 'as written', and to have curtain speeches approved beforehand by management, something which obviously didn't happen in this case.

The complaint will go before an Equity grievance committee, made up of producers and actors who are members of the organisation. If the committee rules in favour of the Schubert Organisation, it could force Stewart to make an apology, or, alternatively, pay a fine. Stewart himself made known via a spokeswoman he still "absolutely stands behind what he said and has no further comment at this point."

However, according to the article many people believe the complaints Stewart (and playwright Arthur Miller, who supported him) made were somewhat out of touch with the realities of the theater industry today. The Schubert Organisation did apparently spend nearly $1 million on print, TV and radio ads, direct mail campaigns and discount coupons. Stewart and Miller complained about the lack of ads in the New York Times and the fact that no review quotes were posted in front of the theater, but according to industry insiders both advertising methods are not nearly as useful as they used to be.

By contrast, according to the paper several people suspect that the real reasons for the weak ticket sales are that it's not nearly one of Miller's best reviews, and that Stewart is not nearly as big a draw as Nicole Kidman and Judi Dench were last year. Stewart's performance was praised by many of the reviews, but it appears he simply does not have enough star power.

Unfortunately, Stewart's stunt also did little to increase ticket sales, as Schubert Organisation chairman Gerald Schoenfeld said that "the box office remains constant."

More on this can be found in the full New York Post article. Thanks go out Lee Jamilkowski for this!

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