Photo via slgckgc/FlickrCC
Last Wednesday, Live Out Loud Theatre's cast and crew found out their production of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding
would not go on as scheduled. Performances were supposed to begin Friday at Tizzano’s Party Center in Euclid, but that night everyone was told the company did not receive proper permission to do the show.
Director Robert McCloud says he believed he did correctly apply to theater licensing company Samuel French for the rights, granted under a former company name of his.
"We knew we had to get a license, that’s just common sense," he tells Scene. "We spent a lot of money. There was nothing to be gained to rehearse a play that we could not do. We haven’t kept anything from anybody."
The Off-Broadway dinner theater classic, involving an over-the-top wedding and lots of audience participation, was set to be the Willowick-based theater company's first production. But in an email obtained by Scene
, a representative of Samuel French told event space co-owner Mike Tizzano that "While the initial request to perform this show was approved back in 2018, we received no payment for this license and therefore, we canceled it."
Tizzano says that canceling the performances, which were scheduled for four weekends, has significantly hurt his business, and that McCloud still owes money for renting out the space.
"This is devastating that [McCloud] didn't follow through with his contract," Tizzano says. "Not just for me, but for everyone who worked so hard on the show."
Mary Beth Synk, speaking on behalf of the cast, says her group wants what transpired to serve as a warning to the local theater community.
"It’s such a waste of time," says Synk, who says the cast was supposed to receive a stipend for their work. "Our rehearsals were 4 to 7 hours, several times a week. This was such an enormous time suck."
In compliance with the Samuel French cease and desist notice, Live Out Loud's Facebook page and website, which advertised the upcoming show, have been taken down. But McCloud says he is working with the publishing company to properly gain the rights and eventually put on the show.
Synk says that after this experience — she calls rehearsals run by McCloud "mismanaged," — she would not return to perform in the show.
"It’s insulting after everything we’ve been through. The cast and crew would have gotten fined too had the show proceeded," Synk says. "We would have all been on the hook for that and he took advantage."
As of now Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding
is postponed until further notice, and all Eventbrite ticketholders have received full refunds.