Phantom’ Row Continues

The ongoing row between U.S. agent Van Joyce and three promoters in Eastern Europe appears destined for court, but both parties will need to curb their language or risk being held in contempt.

So far it’s been a messy fight with what appear to be unpleasant threats. Joyce, president of New York-based Joyce Entertainment Services, says promoters from Tallinn, Riga and Prague are looking for excuses to avoid paying settlements on last year’s “Phantom Of The Opera” shows.

The promoters, Juri Makarov of Makarov Music in Estonia, Marek Rejman from Czech Republic’s GSMA and Vladimir Ikusov from Baltic Concert Agency in Lithuania, say they weren’t happy with the show.

“I paid for a Mercedes, but I understand it was more like a Trabant,” said Rejman, who claims he parted with a $240,000 deposit for eight shows at a 5,100-capacity Tallinn Saku Arena and ended up not doing any of them. Makarov said all three promoters decided to take Joyce to court after waiting for him to make the first move.

After the Riga show at Skonto Arena, Ikusov visited Joyce in his hotel room – allegedly to “discuss the production” – but the U.S. agent called security and had the Latvian promoter escorted from the building.

Later, when Joyce returned to the U.S., he received a message from Makarov that implied he’d get a visit from Ikusov’s “friends from Brighton Beach,” which the American took to be a reference to the Russian Mafia. Matters haven’t improved.

“We would like justice to prevail,” Makarov said. “Our rep in U.S. is a well-known entertainment lawyer from L.A. and we want to be present in the U.S. when the case is heard.”

“I would like to note that your technical director was not present in Riga, and the rest of the crew was composed of amateurs,” Ikusov wrote in his most recent letter to Joyce, which also included a demand that the U.S. agent pay him $50,000 to compensate the unhappy customers. “I was surprised to find out that they met each other on the plane coming here.”