Cohl Sued Over ‘Superstar’

Michael Cohl is facing yet another lawsuit – this time from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Really Useful Group – over a theater production that was scheduled to tour North America this summer.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” was supposed to hit 50 cities, but Cohl pulled the plug suddenly May 30, citing slow sales.

At the time, he told the New York Times “it became obvious the shows were in trouble, but we tried until the last moment to give it every chance to turn around.
“In the end, it just did not make business sense to continue, and we didn’t want the cast to endure playing to disappointing audiences.”

That was news to Really Useful Group’s ears, however.

The production company said in a statement July 29 the cancellation was Cohl’s “unilateral decision” and that it’s “been tirelessly working to find an out of court settlement of the costs incurred by cancellation at such a late stage.”

Further, RUG’s CEO added in a statement to the Times that the company was “hugely disappointed to be let down in this way particularly taking into account the impact (both personal and financial) that it has had on the many people who have put so much hard work into this project.

“We had a sell-out UK Arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2012 and, in 2013, the same production toured Australia also playing to capacity audiences with unprecedented success.”

“Jesus Christ Superstar” was set to feature British actor Ben Forster in the title role, Incubus lead singer Brandon Boyd as Judas Iscariot, Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams as Mary Magdalene, *NSYNC’s JC Chasez as Pontius Pilate, and Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols as King Herod.

Cohl hasn’t found the same success in theater as he once had in the concert world. His beleaguered $75 million production of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ended an unprofitable three-year run early this year, and off-Broadway production of “A Night With Janis Joplin,” he produced was shuttered before it ever opened in NYC this spring.