Producers of the Great Comet of 1812 settle contract litigation

Whenever business entities enter into contractual agreements, the initial hopes for the contracts are generally seen through rose-colored glasses. Usually, the parties who have signed a new agreement focus on high hopes for the project. That so-called honeymoon period, however, almost always ends, and a flow of contractual misinterpretations can often lead the parties into strong disagreements and, ultimately, into contract litigation, which is a common development for many contract disputes in California.

This process concerning contractual obligations comes up in all types of industries. One of those, the world of entertainment, has its share. This includes the worlds of both the Broadway productions and the off-Broadway performances. Both have a flow of new contracts arising each day and somewhat checkered records for making most of them work with no disputes along the way.

The most recent example occurred when a company called Ars Nova sued commercial producers Howard and Janet Kagan. The lawsuit attempted to compel the producers of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 to display the Ars Nova name at the top of the playbill for the hit musical . The suit claims that the Kagans must insert the Ars Nova name because Ars Nova is an off-Broadway company that originally developed the show and produced its first outing.

Ars Nova spokespersons commented that the case was important to assuring healthy associations with its brand. For the dance group, the importance lay in publicizing that the play was originated by the Ars Nova group. He stated that the imposition of the correct facts of the contract was a plus for both parties. Prior to the lawsuit, the playbill listed Ars Nova with 38 other producers who contributed something or endorsed the production.

The parties recently settled the litigation by the defendants agreeing to re-design the playbill to give lead credit to Ars Nova. In return, Ars Nova withdrew the suit. The parties made a public announcement issuing an apology that their contract dispute went public. The general breach of contract approach to the litigation would have been similar if the case had been filed in California.

Source:, “Great Comet and Ars Nova Say Contract Dispute “Resolved”“, Robert Viagas, Nov. 2, 2016

Tags: Contract Disputes

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