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Picketing planned for 'First Wives Club' opening at Old Globe

July 22, 2009 |  1:52 pm


When the musical version of "The First Wives Club" opens July 31 at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre, audiences can expect some juicy drama -- outside the theater doors, that is.

Culture Monster has learned that a small group of picketers is planning to hold court in the courtyard area outside the theater on the evening of the show's official opening. What's the controversy about? Two of the show's backers have allegedly stiffed their former employees out of money, and -- like the heroines of the musical -- the wronged parties are seeking sweet revenge.

Paul Lambert and Jonas Neilson are New York-based producers who are planning to take "The First Wives Club" to Broadway following the San Diego run. A few years ago, the pair (who obtained the rights for the show from Paramount and author Olivia Goldsmith) launched a social networking site for divorced women called First Wives World. They engaged editors, writers and bloggers for the site, with the hopes of cross-promoting the show on the website.

One of the site's former editors, Linda Lee, has organized the picketing campaign outside the Old Globe. She and several other individuals say that Lambert and Neilson owe them money for work completed on the site, with some claiming unpaid wages in the tens of thousands of dollars.

The picketing began last week during previews, but an Old Globe employee escorted the lone picketer from the grounds. (Lee said that's what's shown in the picture, above, that she sent to Culture Monster.)

Lambert and Neilson aren't producing the Old Globe version of "The First Wives Club," although they have been involved with the theater company in terms of lending the rights for the material. The two are currently in the process of raising money for the planned Broadway run.

A spokeswoman for Lambert and Neilson said they had no official comment concerning the picketing. The Old Globe also declined to comment.

-- David Ng

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Photo: A picketer gets escorted off the grounds of the Old Globe in San Diego. Credit: Linda Lee