Stealing Bway Royalties

When Michael Mayer’s disastrous vandalism of my art opened on Broadway on July 26th 2018, it was twenty-five years to the day after I arrived in New York City on a bus, with $2K in my bank accounts, with dreams of making a living in the commercial theater.


In January before the Broadway opening, I caught Christine Russell in a lie about her knowledge of the threats (and worse) I’d received, at which point I was cut totally dead by everyone aboard their enterprise.


The reviews of the show were middling to poor, and audiences stayed away in droves from the poorly-marketed mess.


Now please read the forthcoming to understand what a fucking saint I was. (Note: as I write these words, I think "What an idiot!") None of the actors or anyone ever reached out to me in any manne to say “thanks for creating this” or anything. None of them would have employment except for my sacrifices, all done in good faith that my losses would prove revenue in the future. God knows what the actor and crew were told about me. Let it be said - and I invite any criticism that I am otherwise, for it will fail in evidence - I have always been an advocate for my actors and my crews.


In July of 2018, as the closing seemed imminent, I wrote Christine Russell the following email prior to their Broadway opening night. Please take note that I am bravely writing a bully who knows of hired thugs who were sent after me to deliver threats and much worse in order to line her own greedy pockets.

Christine,


It is at this point in a show's fortunes when the producers ask the creatives to surrender their royalties in order to keep the ship aright.


You have not cultivated such a relationship with me.


But nonetheless this email extends the offer to forego royalties on Head Over Heels when the coffers are low.


In truth this is for the actors and Union members who depend on my work for their revenue.


My proudest achievement is not a Tony Award but the work I have provided for so many hundreds of people over the years. Many have raised their children from its proceeds.


I created that endowment in my Head Over Heels. It is one of the ongoing griefs of my life that I am not proud of the work bearing my name, for it will not provide such a legacy.


I could not redo it all. I quit. Then all else followed.


If something must be signed I would prefer not to deal with my former lawyers at LPMNY nor their understudy, Mr. Lawless. If a release can be drafted you can have company management send it my way. I will have an attorney look it over and if it looks all right I will release you of further financial strain while the coffers are low.


Yours,

Jeff Whitty


After everything that those awful people put me through, I extended this offer.


No one replied to me for 144 days. 144 fucking days. Meanwhile the money-laundering operation (or WTF it was) that my art became kept the show running despite never once turning a (public) profit. Not for a single week did the 32-week Broadway run of Head Over Heels make money. Truly a remarkable Broadway first. A show that makes no money - ran for 32 money-laundering-oops-I'm-sorry-"money-losing" weeks!


And then after 144 days, this email came through to my business manager – the man who handled my money, who was a close friend to my former law firm.


144 days later.


I had no idea my email was ever received in the first place. And then this:


Dear Frank,


Enclosed please find check #1889 representing the royalties due to date to Bad Fairy, Inc. for Head Over Heels.


The producers thank Mr. Whitty for his email to Christine Russell dated July 21, 2018 (copy enclosed) agreeing to royalty waivers. Details are included on the attached summary, but due to the low grosses for the show, the following waivers were agreed to by royalty participants, and the same was applied to Mr. Whitty's royalties:


Full waiver: Week-ending July 1, 2018 through July 22, 2018 (4 weeks)

50% waiver: Week-ending July 29, 2018 through January 6, 2018 (24 weeks)

We believe the enclosed summary details what is due, but if you have any questions, please let us know.


The balance of royalties due will be paid upon the show's closing. As you may be aware, the show has announced January 6, 2019 as its final performance.


Best,

Jeff Klein

Associate General Manager

101 Productions, Ltd.

Enclosures

Cc: Christine Russell, Susan Mindell, Emily Erstling, Wendy Orshan, Jeffrey M. Wilson


The fuck I agreed to this. First of all, writers don’t get paid in a lump sum. Secondly, the producers have to ask permission every week to deprive me of my money, as they did every damn week on Bring It On for the twenty weeks that it ran on Broadway, which ended up meaning that I made $0.00 for a twenty-week Broadway run of my work.


With Head Over Heels, I agreed to reduce my royalties in order to take care of the actors and crew, who would have been clearing their dressing rooms immediately after opening in any other circumstance.


Instead, the union members did just fine. They got 32 weeks of full pay in all. The person getting fucked was me.


And as a side note: beyond the multiple apologies owed to me and Carmel Dean and the investors who were swindled, the producers owe a huge apology to Jeff Klein, the poor Associate General Manager who was forced to handle the situation with me via email and on the phone. I was customarily gracious, especially when I sensed his writhing discomfort. The grossness of the producers hung over both of us, fellow victims of their craven greed even though on paper we were opponents.


I certainly didn’t agree to fill the coffers of the sleazy producers who stole my work - people so filthy-rich that my scant royalties meant nothing - who deliberately traumatized me to such a degree that I would attempt suicide less than a year later from undiagnosed, untreated C-PTSD as a result of the goons they hired to silence me.


Those people are so gross that they just HAD to go for one more shitty kick out the door at the artist on whom those parasites depended, at artist who by now was seen as less than human, a comic figure flailing desperately for help with none forthcoming – because they made sure of that.


They made sure to close off any avenues to help.


I can only imagine the delight of Christine Russell, Susan Mindell (of my former law firm, Levine, Plotkin and Menin) and the rest of them when my email arrived: “Oh, Jeffrey Whitty is doing something incredibly decent and human? How can we twist his kindness to bite him in the ass?”


This is a bill that is due. Long overdue.


I don't want to use Gwyneth Paltrow's celebrity to keep a roof over my head. But honestly, everyone - what else would you do if you faced becoming unhoused as the result of such egregious abuses?