'Chicago' Didn't Play Well in Chungking

MANHATTAN (CN) - The hired producer of a touring company of "Chicago: The Musical" in China tanked the production by failing to hold up its end of the deal, then threatened the cast when they tried to leave for America, a company claims in court.
     Billy Chicago Ltd. sued Chicago China Tour et al. in New York County Supreme Court.
     Billy Chicago claims and the Chicago China Tour agreed on Nov. 11, 2013 to launch a Chinese tour of "Chicago: The Musical," in January-February 2014.
     Billy Chicago claims it sent an entire cast to China for the scheduled performances.
     Chicago China Tour was to provide a fully staffed theater with rehearsal space that was properly lit and heated. It also was to provide a technical director, dressers and crew for the length of the show's run, along with two interpreters and seven local musicians, according to the complaint.
     But Chicago China Tour failed to do that, Billy Chicago claims in the 4-page lawsuit.
     Unknown to Billy Chicago, Chicago China Tour entered into a separate contract with other companies and people to supervise the work that the agreement required Chicago China Tour to perform: co-defendants Jurek Zhang, Beijing BEC Performing Arts Co. Ltd., Beijing Joyway Culture & Media Ltd., and Across-China Productions, according to the complaint.
     Zhang then wrongly tried to assert that he had an enforceable contract with Billy Chicago, and even threatened to sue Billy Chicago, according to the lawsuit.
     When Billy Chicago made arrangements to fly the cast out of China when the deal fell through, Zhang tried to detain the cast and even threatened them to stop them from leaving, the lawsuit states.
     Billy Chicago seeks damages for breach of contract, and a declaration that it has no contract with Zhang or any of his companies.
     The lawsuit was filed by Judd Burstein.