MANHATTAN (CN) – A choir of Broadway singers claims in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in New York County that pop star Mariah Carey reneged on paying the singers for a series of Christmas concerts last year.
Broadway Inspirational Voices, a nonprofit charitable organization and Grammy-nominated choir of Broadway singers, claims in an 11-page complaint that Mariah Carey hired them to reprise their role as a backing choir for a 2016 series of holiday concerts at New York City’s Beacon Theater and then breached the agreement “almost immediately after signing it.”
According to the lawsuit, Carey retained BIV to sing four songs during nine Christmas concerts in December 2016 and then dumped them for another group without explanation.
The Broadway choir claims they have not been paid any of the $67,500 due under their 2016 agreement with Carey’s management company, Mirage Entertainment, which is also named as a defendant in the case.
“First, Mirage failed to make the initial $4,000 payment that was due upon signing the agreement. Second, Mirage and Ms. Carey reneged on the deal entirely,” attorney Joel Cohen wrote in the complaint.
The group says it had performed a similar role for Carey with no issues in 2014.
According to the complaint, BIV ensured that 20 of its choir members would be available for Carey’s concerts during the busy holiday period and declined another performance offer that might have conflicted with their obligations to Carey’s Beacon Theater shows.
The singers claim they were met with “dismissive and derisive responses” when they sought explanations for why Carey’s show had pulled the plug on them.
BIV alleges it had to postpone plans to use the promised payments to fund a music program at an elementary school whose art program had been cut.
The choir group, which was founded in 1994 as The Broadway Gospel Choir, is an ensemble comprised of actors and musicians from Broadway and off‐Broadway shows.
The chair emeritus of the BIV board is Phylicia Rashad, a former Broadway actress best known for her role as Clair Huxtable on the NBC sitcom “The Cosby Show.”
Carey’s 1994 song “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is a bona fide modern day holiday classic that fits in with rest of the Christmastime catalog, which she performed renditions of on her 1994 holiday album “Merry Christmas” and the 2010 follow-up “Merry Christmas II You.”
This holiday season will see the release of an adaptation of Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” as a direct-to-video animated movie.
Carey’s counsel said they had not yet been served the complaint, but expected it be dealt with easily as a quantum meruit matter.
Quantum meruit is Latin for “what one has earned,” and such cases determine the reasonable value of services when there is a dispute over the amount owed.