Mommy musical battle halts Chicago performances
Updated at: 2:40 pm on 7/11/10
The announcement that The Mommies–A Musical Blog has delayed its July opening at the Royal George raised more questions than it answered. Why should litigation about and with the producers of her previous work, Menopause the Musical, prevent writer/producer Jeanie Linders from opening something new? That, after all, is why God invented lawyers: so normal people could go about their normal lives even when confronted with Jarndyce v. Jarndyce
Apparently, though, the feud goes beyond the question of production rights for Menopause. Rather, either separately or together, Linders and her former producers GFour came up with the idea of a parallel musical addressing an earlier stage in a woman’s reproductive cycle, namely, motherhood. The producers’ baby was born first: Motherhood the Musical opened in Tampa on June 3 and as soon as today (depending on the Tampa box office) will take off on a national tour including Dallas and Philadelphia.
Doubtless Motherhood would like to sit down in Chicago for an extended run, given the success of Menopause; but Mommies was in the way. Women may be hungry for stories about our lives, but not identical stories in idential genres opening in the same season in the same city; and especially not identical/identical/same/same when one advertises itself as “by the writer of Menopause . . .” and the other as “by the producers of Menopause . . .”. At this point, if you’re not confused you’re just not paying attention.
So one guesses that a legal threat with respect to ownership of the idea passed from GFour to Linders, resulting in the Mommies delay. But this hardly leaves the field clear for Motherhood: should it try to open in Chicago it could expect a nearly identical document to come hurtling in its direction. Thus, a stalemate.
Stay tuned for further developments on the maternal-material front, perhaps best described collectively as The Joy of the Results of Sex.
Jeanie Linders, author of Mommies, denied any connection between the postponement of her show and her legal battles with GFour. "The litigation does not involve Motherhood the Musical. There's no connection between them. [But] the litigation [about Menopause] is debilitating and financially strapping in a way that affects all other projects." She added that "Motherhood does not even affect the production of The Mommies because the two are totally different shows. Their approach is totally different."