An unflattering column in the New York Post about the new stage musical "Finding Neverland" has riled the show's biggest backer, Harvey Weinstein, who claims that the writer of the column hasn't even seen the production.
"Finding Neverland," adapted from the 2004 movie of the same name, opened recently at the American Repertory Theatre in Massachusetts prior to an expected Broadway engagement. The long-awaited musical was lambasted this week by the Post's theater columnist Michael Riedel, who called it "dead in the water."
Riedel's column summarizes two reviews of the production, one from the New York Times and one from Deadline. The Post columnist has a reputation for writing provocative articles and has incurred the wrath of a number of prominent theater producers and artists over the years.
Weinstein later told Deadline that "though he was invited to workshops in New York, and to Boston, Michael Riedel never bothered to see 'Finding Neverland.'" The producer added that "I fail to understand how he can consider himself an authority on the quality of the show."
The Oscar-winning producer told Deadline that he is challenging Riedel to see the show and that he will launch a Kickstarter campaign if the newspaper's publisher won't foot his travel bill.
When reached for comment, Riedel told the Los Angeles Times by e-mail: "As my idol, Captain Renault might say, 'It's a game we play.' I tease Harvey. He teases me. It works for both of us."
"Finding Neverland" was once scheduled for a run at the La Jolla Playhouse but the production was canceled in 2011. The current staging at ART is directed by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus. The musical, which has been seen in the U.K., has undergone a number of revisions on its long road to Broadway.