Abbott & Costello Estate Sues Broadway's HAND TO GOD Over 'Who's on First?'
The five-time Tony-nominated play's lead producer Kevin McCollum doesn't seem phased. He told the Times, "Filing a lawsuit on the eve of the Tony Awards is obviously nothing more than a stunt. Frankly, we welcome the attention."
The lawsuit is the next step after cease-and-desist requests were served to the Hand to God team following the show's April opening. The federal suit claims copyright infringement against playwright Robert Askins, as well as the production's producers and promoters.
According to the show's spokesman Rick Miramontez, "The lawsuit is baseless; the material in question is in the public domain", not to mention the baseball routine's inclusion in the script was "carefully vetted".
Marc Rachman, who is representing Abbott & Costello's heirs, said, "'Hand to God' is using 'Who's on First' not just to get laughs from the audience but also to get people to buy tickets."
The new American play HAND TO GOD opened on April 7, 2015 at the Booth Theatre (222 West 45th Street), marking the Broadway debuts of playwright Robert Askins and director Moritz von Stuelpnagel. Hand to God features Steven Boyer as Jason/Tyrone; Geneva Carr, in her Broadway debut, as Margery; Tony Award nominee Marc Kudisch as Pastor Greg; Sarah Stiles as Jessica; and Michael Oberholtzer, in his Broadway debut, as Timothy.
The hilarious and provocative Hand to Godcenters on shy, inquisitive student Jason, who finds an outlet for his burgeoning creativity at the Christian Puppet Ministry in the devoutly religious, relatively quiet small town of Cypress, Texas. Jason's complicated relationships with the town pastor, the school bully, the girl next door and-most especially-his mother are thrown into further upheaval when Jason's hand puppet Tyrone -- once soft-spoken -- takes on a shocking and dangerously irreverent personality all its own. As Tyrone's influence over Jason steadily grows, Hand to God explores the startlingly fragile nature of faith, morality, and the ties that bind us.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus