Thursday, March 26, 2009

26th Street Theatre cancels The Life - UPDATED

26-St-Theater-If you'll recall, back in January I wrote "Oh, What A Tangled Web We Weave!" and reported that Gary Waldman and Jamison Troutman had a string of failed projects, and former employees left unpaid, charges Waldman and Troutman vigorously deny. It's been one of the most read stories on my blog, according to the statistics counter. And since that time, I occasionally get a supportive email, or a tip to follow up on.

In the last few hours, I have recieved numerous reports that the cast of The Life, scheduled to the grand re-opening of the 26th Street Theatre in Wilton Manors, hadn't been paid. Apparently, one of the non-union actors, lacking any representation, was contacting every person in South Florida Theatre they could reach. A major producer, a professional organization, area newspapers, and this blog were all contacted.

This is a snippet of the emails flying around;
...quite frankly I do not know who to turn to, all I know is that I want to prevent these two producers from doing what they have done to me and the rest of my cast to others... They refuse to give me my paycheck for the week I worked and leaving me stranded in Florida without a flight home...we are all waiting in limbo staying in a "cast house" in wilton manors that is being sold in less then two weeks. We all really need help from the south florida theatre community..."
I did confirm that one of the actors with The Life was the source of the email. They were very upset, not just with the way the company was run, but how Gary Waldman in particular reacted; by yelling and screaming.

The same actor reported that Gary did apologize a short time later.

I spoke with Jamison Troutman late this afternoon. He politely confirmed that their production of The Life has been canceled due to 'unforeseen circumstances.' He assures me that no one is going to be stranded.
"It took us two weeks to get them down here, and it's going to take a day or two to get them home safely. We weren't expecting to send them back so soon."
When I asked about their pay, he informed me that all the actors are being dealt with, although he wouldn't go so far as to claim they have been paid:
"They've all been met with, and they know that we're doing what we can to take care of them. I suppose it's possible that one or two of them isn't happy with that."
He did mention that the discussions occurred very late last night. I know that my conversation with one of the actors took place around 9:30 pm.
"They are staying in a beautiful house for now, and they are all going to be flown home. It's my concern that they get home safely, that's what I'm working on. But they are absolutely going to get home."
I was unable to reach my source to confirm that these meetings had occurred.

It's a shame that what this cast is going to remember is how they almost got stranded in South Florida. The next time one of the smaller South Florida theaters tries to cast out of New York, they'll have some extra hoops to jump through.

************UPDATE 7:00PM
This story will air on NBC 6, on their 7pm newscast.

Just a note: comments are always welcome, (and somehow I expect a lot of comments on this one) but abusive language isn't. Keep it polite.



  1. wow. this is a ringing endoresemt of why you should be a member of actors equity.

  2. endorsement i should say...and its deborah sherman here commenting...:)

  3. I wish someone should have spoke to people who auditioned for the show about the producers' history before they signed on. Then this wouldn't have happened.

    People should be aware. Talk to others, get references, etc.

  4. Sadly every actor in South Florida is and has been aware of these two pigs but desperate times sometimes force actors/singers to take work where they can get it. I've managed to avoid them but my friends who haven't, have all been burned, badly. These two men are the lowest of the low,leaving a trail of scum and bad checks from Biloxi to Key West.

    They truly belong behind bars!

  5. There's probably a very good reason that this cast was brought in from New York, and it may not be entirely due to the availability of talent.

  6. Same thing happened to the entire cast of Bungalow Bunnies, which these two "gentlemen" did a number of years ago in DelRay Beach. They "discussed" it with us as well--as soon as they were on their feet, they'd do what they could to repay us. Then they open a theatre Don't trust anything these people say. Period.