"Charlie" loses financial backer
Cold feet a mystery

December 31, 1998

NEW YORK Columbia Artists Management Inc. (CAMI) has dropped out of the Sopwith Camel, leaving Fox Theatricals and an associate producer to finance the Broadway-bound revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The tuner's overall cost isn't peanuts, either. It's estimated by insiders to be just over $3 million, with CAMI's original stake thought to be $1.5 million.

The tuner, under the helm of Michael Mayer, was initially to be produced by CAMI, Fox, Gene Perrson and Arthur Whitelaw. In mid-December, however, the financial relationship began to unravel while the show was on tour at Detroit's Fisher Theatre, according to a production source.

CAMI's Aldo Scrafani had been serving as 'Charlie's' executive producer. It is now understood that Michael Leavitt, of the Chicago-based Fox Theatricals, will assume that mantle. CAMI officials declined to comment, Leavitt was unavailable, and calls to Perrson were not returned.

Associate producer Jerry Frankel (who is not related to the Gotham producer Richard Frankel), a ladies apparel magnate based in Dallas, will apparently increase his pecuniary contributions to the tuner. It's not immediately clear, though, how much will come from Fox and how much from Frankel.

Even less clear is why CAMI's feet grew cold with the tuner, which is in Chicago on a national pre-Broadway tour prior to a planned opening at the Ambassador Theater on Broadway later this spring.

Broadway insiders speculated that the company may be reluctant to open itself to so much risk after a costly and disastrous Off Broadway flop in 'Trainspotting,' which CAMI co-produced with Arielle Tepper. That production, which closed three weeks after opening, is estimated to have lost all $750,000 of its capitalization.

Calls to Tepper were not returned.

During Pre-Broadway Changes, Charlie Brown Loses Backer

Playbill Online

Columbia Artists Management Inc. (CAMI) has dropped out of funding the Broadway-bound revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The move leaves Fox Theatricals, Gene Perrson and Arthur Whitelaw to finance the estimated $3 million cost of the show - with Variety reporting CAMI's initial share at $1.5 million.

The financial problems seemed to have occurred during the show's pre Broadway tour, specifically during the mid-December dates in Detroit while the show was going through numerous changes including the addition of two new songs (by outside composer Andrew Lippa) .

The show is currently on the last leg of its tour, at St. Louis' Fox Theatre through Jan. 3, before making its Broadway bow. The tour was originally slated for a Boston try-out after the Fox, but canceled those dates in mid December due to director Michael Mayer's commitment to his other upcoming Broadway revival, Lion in Winter at the Roundabout.

Because of the cancellation of the Boston dates, the show's Broadway opening was moved up to Feb. 4 (a week earlier than expected), with previews still slated to begin Jan. 23, 1999.

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