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Musicians join Copacabana claimants in row over unpaid wages

Jon Lee, who starred in the tour of Copacabana. Photo: Anton Belmonte
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Musicians involved in last year’s failed Copacabana tour have become the latest group to launch legal proceedings against the show’s production company in a bid to reclaim money owed to them.

Last week, The Stage reported that 16 actors were being supported by performers’ union Equity in their legal bid to recover more than £30,000 in unpaid wages after the 2014 tour of the musical collapsed.

Now, the Musicians’ Union has revealed that it is supporting six of its members in mounting legal action against production firm Dancing Fool Theatrical for more than £10,000 in unpaid wages.

The MU said it had contacted producer Antony Stuart-Hicks in December to inform him of its intention to assist members in the Copacabana band with claims for outstanding performance fees and unpaid touring allowances, but received no response.

In an earlier email to Stuart-Hicks, the union had urged him to discuss problems with the show, with the MU claiming Stuart-Hicks had blamed the problems on venues cancelling performances.

Naomi Pohl, London regional organiser at the MU, said: “In our view, no production company should be in a position where cancelled performances result in non-payment of artists. If the company goes ahead with the next leg of the tour, we ask them to ensure this does not happen again. In the meantime, we would advise any member of ours to be cautious when considering entering into a contract with this company.”

As reported last week, Jimmy Osmond was due to appear in a 2015 leg of the tour, but told The Stage he had not had contact with the producers since early December last year.

It has also emerged that some of the venues that were due to host the show – Fairfield Halls in Croydon and St Helens Theatre Royal – are now no longer doing so.

Last year, Stuart-Hicks insisted that the 2015 tour would go ahead as planned, and that all the people who were owed money would be paid.

Stuart-Hicks confirmed that he had received correspondence from Equity and the MU and would “co-operate fully” to pay members “what is contractually due”.

He added that Dancing Fool Theatrical was receiving assistance from financial firm Portland to “recover settlement monies” due to the company from the 2014 tour and to collate a “realistic and workable financial schedule to be able to pay any outstanding cast, crew, musicians or suppliers’ fees”.

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