Broadway producers Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb (Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Showboat) got some bad news in Toronto. No, it wasn’t about an out-of-town tryout. It was a prison sentence for fraud — seven years for Drabinsky, six for Gottlieb.
Turns out their production company, Livent, was keeping bad books throughout the 1990s to make itself look much more profitable than it was. After the pair had a big flop with Showboat — could it be this was how they planned to get away with it? — the pair was finally unmasked when Michael Ovitz bought the company, discovered the fraud, ousted Drabinsky and Gottlieb and filed suit.
That was in 1998, and for the past 11 years this case has been bouncing around American and Canadian courts, in the course of which it became a criminal case, of which Drabinsky and Gottlieb were convicted in March. The producers helpfully suggested to the judge that they partially fulfill their obligation to the state via a “speaking tour” in which they would inspire young people to excel, as they had, in the arts. The judge’s review, alas, was unfavorable.