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Monday, July 13, 2009

Le Petit Theatre producer banned from own show

Posted By on Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 2:22 AM

White Noise

According to a report in today's New York Post by Michael Riedel, Mitchell Maxwell -- producer of the hopefully-Broadway-bound musical White Noise, currently at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré -- has been banned from his own show.

Meanwhile, down in New Orleans, Mitchell Maxwell, another flop king, is causing such strife that he's been banned from his own show, the Broadway-bound musical "White Noise."

The volatile producer verbally abused his creative team, frightened his actors and threw such a temper tantrum in the lobby of the Omni Hotel that terrified guests called the police, several production sources told The Post.

"I have never experienced anything this crazy in my life," one member of the creative team says.

"He is not a stable man." ....

"White Noise," which is aiming to open on Broadway in the fall, is trying out at Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans' French Quarter.

Maxwell hadn't been around much. But when he showed up earlier this week, his demons were unleashed.

He was furious that, at a rehearsal on Monday, the actors paid more attention to associate director Holly-Anne Ruggerio than they did to him. The next morning, at a production meeting in the hotel lobby, he lost his temper and "lunged" at her, an eyewitness says.

"He started ranting and raving at her," the source says. "He actually went cross-eyed. He screamed, 'I'll rip your face off! You're f - - - ing fired!'

"Donald Byrd [co-director] tried to restrain him, and then one of the people in the lobby called the police."

No arrest was made, and after talking to the police Maxwell seemed to calm down. But in the middle of the night, he banged on Ruggerio and playwright Matte O'Brien's hotel room doors, sources say.

He also texted production members "scary" and "threatening" messages.

The actors, meanwhile, refused to attend rehearsals while Maxwell was present.

Riedel attempted to contact Mitchell with no success, but Le Petit managing director Gary Solomon Jr. seems to confirm the tale, telling the Post:

"There were a lot of people at the theater who were afraid to go back to the hotel," he says. "We took action to make sure that people felt safe.

"We have a terrific show," he adds. "One man is not going to stop this thing."

White Noise -- a musical about an angelic duo of white supremacist sisters who become mainstream pop stars -- was profiled in last week's Gambit by David Winkler-Schmit, and Will Coviello has an appreciative review in the upcoming issue. The creative team hopes to take it to Broadway later this year, but at this point it sounds like there's more drama in the rehearsals than there is on stage.

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