Theater archives

Hairspray Lawsuit Has Been Barred


In 2007, Joel Vig–who played various roles in Hairspraysued the show for $1.5 million, claiming they fired him after he had surgery on a knee he’d injured onstage.

Vig worked for months after the injury, but after his surgery, he found he’d been replaced and he was barred from entering the theater.

At the time, a Hairspray rep said, “Mr Vig’s allegations were summarily rejected” in an arbitration brought by the union.

Well, now it’s not just Vig who was barred. His lawsuit has been barred from being heard based on the statute of limitations.

Vig wrote to me:

“My lawyer has put in a request for the case to be heard by the New York Court Of Appeals based on the unusual but undeniable fact that I was covered not by one but by two union contracts and that the statute of limitations clearly is within the three-year statute of limitations rule for the musician’s union contract. It was through the musician’s union that I had an approved medical leave.

“I will send you the filings by both my lawyer and the opposition lawyer. The opposition lawyer has boldly lied in his filing claiming that ‘It is undisputed that the Plaintiff took an unapproved leave and was terminated.’ I have not only the request for leave but the letter approving my leave.

“What is undisputed is that I was injured on the job. What is undisputed is that I had a perfect work record and was praised by the producer for my work record and ethics. What is undisputed is that I had a perfectly normal recovery and when I should have gone back into the show I was denied that right.

“I have watched the horrors of the many terrible injuries in Spider-Man and The Little Mermaid leaving actors in hospitals and rehab centers…The pattern of terrible injuries that had happened before should have closed [Spider-Man] down until safety was assured for the poor actors and stunt people who were being put into those harnesses and flown crashing into the walls and the stage and ultimately falling headfirst into the cement orchestra pit.

“I do believe that the difference of the man who was welcomed back with open arms at Spider-Man and my being wrongfully terminated in Hairspray comes down to public awareness due to the press. Anything you can do to shed a light on this terrible injustice and to make the case for the NY Court Of Appeals to review this case would be much appreciated.”

You can’t stop the beat!