Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Producers.

Just days after Garth Drabinsky finally got his day in court, Aubrey Dan has launched a lawsuit against rival impresario David Mirvish:
Claiming conspiracy, fraud, a breach of the Competition Act and irreparable harm, Toronto theatre impresario Aubrey Dan is seeking an injunction to block the sale of the Canon and Panasonic Theatres to his downtown rival, David Mirvish.

The application, filed Monday in Ontario's Superior Court, alleges that the sale, if consummated, would violate Mr. Dan's prior agreements with John Gore's New York-based Key Brand Entertainment, which bought the two theatres from Live Nation in January.

“Going to court is like going to the bathroom,” Mr. Dan said Wednesday. “It's necessary, you gotta do it. It doesn't scare me one bit. I have the resources.”
If only for Dan's colourful quotations, I hope he doesn't get squeezed out of the Toronto market.

Of course, the Mirvishes have their own theatrical style as well. David M. fired back this afternoon by having a press conference, where he:

A) Said that Dan's lawsuit was without merit;
B) Announced he wasn't closing We Will Rock You after all, but moving it into the Panasonic Theatre; and
C) Brought the cast of We Will Rock You on to sing Queen's We Are the Champions ("No time for losers, cuz we are the champions... of the world.").

Does Dan have a case? If Mirvish does own the Panasonic, the Canon, the Princess of Wales and the Royal Alex, they will have a virtual monopoly on downtown theatres... But does that violate the Competition Act? I really don't know.

It will be interesting to watch how this all plays out, but I do believe that Dan is right when he says that competition is good for the consumer. (We've seen that already in Mirvish's upped-ante 2008-2009 season.) Toronto deserves more than one big commercial producer - it just remains to be seen if this town is big enough for the two of them.


Megan Mooney said...

were you at the press conference yesterday?

it was great.

i was talking to a woman in front of me from CP and afterwards we were talking and she said 'well, if that song wasn't a message to DanCap I don't know what is'. I agreed and said "yeah, this whole thing was basically a 'fuck you DanCap' press conference"

MK Piatkowski said...

Wow, I didn't know any of this, and I work in a Mirvish theatre. I thought the Canon and Panasonic sale to DanCap was a done deal.

I'm not sure what to think of this. On the one hand, this move will allow more stand-alone, long-run musicals, which the Ouz has been jonesing for ages. (I can only imagine what he must have been like after the press conference.) On the other hand, I like the competition that DanCap is offering and the kick in the ass it gave Mirvish and I don't want to see that disappear.

Maybe the reconfigured Sony Centre might come more into the mix for DanCap? That might solve a huge problem with what to do with that space and still keep the competition element intact.