MANHATTAN (CN) – A songwriter who helped write the movie “Tootsie” has gone to court to stop production a new musical adaptation to be called “Dollface.” David Zippel, who says he owns rights to “Tootsie” with his old partner Larry Gelbart, claims Scott Sanders Theatrical Productions is trying to cut him out of rights to the new version he prepared with a new partner, composer Walter Afanasieff.
Zippel and Afanasieff sued Scott Sanders Theatrical Productions in New York County Court.
Zippel claims he and Gelbart – who died in 2009 – own rights to the “Tootsie” screenplay, characters, storyline and plot.
He says that he and Gelbart chose Afanasieff “to complete their creative team” for the new production, and that he and Gelbart then chose Sanders Production to produce it.
Sanders produced “The Color Purple” on Broadway, and is producing the revival of the musical “Evita,” according to the complaint.
Zippel claims Sanders entered a “theatrical production agreement” with him, Gelbart and Afanasieff for the new show.
“However, after celebrating and repeatedly reaffirming that commitment, and after congratulating Zippel and Afanasieff on the quality and beauty of their songs, Scott Sanders Productions abruptly reneged, and purported to terminate Zippel and Afanasieff,” the complaint states. “In this action, Zippel and Afanasieff seek to prevent Scott Sanders Productions from wrongfully excluding them and their work product from the ‘Tootsie’ project, and to recover amounts due and owing to them”.
They seek damages for breach of the theatrical production agreement, specific performance, promissory estoppel, expenses, and royalties.
They are represented by Susan Schwartz with Foley & Lardner.