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Re: “White Noise

Read Comments Leave a Comment "White Noise" actors refused to rehearse while producer Mitchell Maxwell (below) was present.
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Last updated: 3:31 pm
July 10, 2009
Posted: 1:59 am
July 10, 2009

TWO of Broadway's most notorious scoundrels have sli thered back into the spotlight this week.

Up in Toronto, Garth Drabinsky, producer of such flops as "Kiss of the Spider Woman" and "Ragtime," is awaiting sentencing for defrauding investors in Livent, his bankrupt company.

Drabinsky has offered to do some "community service" in the form of a college lecture tour in which he will discuss "avoidance of unethical conduct."

This, a friend says, "gives a whole new meaning to 'book him.' "

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."

Maxwell's kept a low profile around Broadway ever since he bounced most of the paychecks on his disastrous revival of "Bells Are Ringing" in 2001.

But he was plotting his comeback with "White Noise," loosely based on the neo-Nazi singing group Prussian Blue.

Maxwell was producing and co-directing the show, although sources say he never came up with his share of the money for the forthcoming Broadway production and seldom attended rehearsals.

When he did appear, his direction consisted of telling the female leads to "act sexy" and demanding that more profanity be added to the script.

"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.

Gary Solomon, the managing director of Le Petit Theatre, confirms that the police were called and that Maxwell has been banned from the show.

"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."

Maxwell didn't return messages left at his office and with his press agent and his lawyer.

Production sources say his partners are in the process of buying him out of the show, although he's still insisting that he be billed as co-director and producer.

However, he can't attend the show -- or even set foot in the theater -- "without written consent from the other producers," says a source.

Maxwell's a thoroughly discredited character on Broadway. In addition to bouncing checks at "Bells Are Ringing," he was sued by his investors in "Damn Yankees" after he tried to cut them out of a lucrative national tour starring Jerry Lewis.

His string of flop shows includes "The Chosen," "On the Waterfront," "Play On!" and "Brooklyn."

"He really thought 'White Noise' was going to put him back on top," a source says. "But he was worried about how the press, especially The Post, was going to treat him."


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Daviddavison wrote:
Regardless of what happened down in New Orleans...readers please keep in mind who is writing this article. I have been in the theater business for over 40 years as a stage manager and in my opinion, there is no bigger scum bag journalist than Michael Riedel. Get your facts right Michael before you call somebody a flop king. Even if producer Maxwell did loose his temper etc., you also seem to forget that he is a Pulitzer Prize Winning Producer (Dinner with Friends), a three time Tony award Nominee (DamnYankess) and a co producer of one of the longest running shows of all time (Stomp.) Every producer on broadway produces flops...even the best. Lerner and Lowe wrote five flop shows before My Fair Lady. Just because somebody might have acted innappropriately or inexcusably doesn't change the fact that you as a journalist need to get your head out of your a%#.
7/12/2009 9:39 AM EDT
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Jeppydog wrote:
Money is why Maxwell was given the title as shows always have the difficult task of raising funds. He promises more than he comes through with and is a scam artist who doesn't know when he has it good.
7/10/2009 11:51 AM EDT
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Indiangirl wrote:
Perhaps if producers/faculty/other directors are intimidated by her, then she should not be working with them professionally.

And perhaps I am ignorant to the ways of this industry (I did theater as a hobby at Yale, and it inot a profession of mine), but am I wrong to assume that the role of an associate director is to support a director in the process, not conflict with him/her?

I have never met this Mitchell director, but from what it sounds like, he isn't the easiest man to work with either. I point no fingers, just presented my opinion.

sirry to have offended

7/10/2009 11:40 AM EDT
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NyTheatreGal wrote:
I worked with Holly-Anne on both shows that you're referring to and A - that Yale article is completely false and B - She is a wonderful wonderful person who people are intimidated by...i.e. old school faculty and producers so don't hate on a wonderful young woman is trying to pave a way for others without knowing the facts.
7/10/2009 11:28 AM EDT
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WillyMac wrote:
"Back on top?" Michael, wouldn't you have had to been once "on top," to get "back on top?" Who is this maniac. That said, labeling artistic triumphs like "Spider Woman," and "Ragtime" flops seems a bit harsh. Maybe they didn't make any money, but they were beautifully reviewed and audiences adored them. You can't just toss them in the pot with embarrassingly bad productions like "Brooklyn," or "Glory Days." I'm not asking you to be nice, Michael, we'd all hate that, just be fare.
7/10/2009 11:01 AM EDT
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Indiangirl wrote:
Why my last post was deleted I do not know. Check out the below article.

This is the second time in a year this associate director seems to be having a "problem" with members of a creative team.

Shame on Mitchell Maxwell for not keeping his cool, and shame on the producers for teaming this duo to start with.
7/10/2009 10:20 AM EDT
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Indiangirl wrote:
excuse an appove typo "playing field"
7/10/2009 9:36 AM EDT
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JasonNY wrote:
Despite the drama off the stage, I witnessed the opening and the audience was truly moved with honest tears and cheers. White Noise is more important than te drama off the stage. It has its own life now. May it succeed inspite of it all as I overheard it sold over 500 tickets in a theatre that hold 375 seats, so it is huge hit. No one can defend Mr. Maxwell's actions (wasn't there), but just maybe his madness or passion helped shape and drive the show to this point.
7/10/2009 9:29 AM EDT
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Posted by nedcat on 07/12/2009 at 1:46 PM

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