The iceman cameth Sunday, to Cambridge, Mass., dumping a bucketful on New York Post Broadway columnist Michael Riedel. It was a positive outcome for all as Harvey Weinstein, tending his Times Square-bound musical Finding Neverland, exacted revenge for Riedel’s reports on the show’s bumpy ride to opening night. Weinstein also agreed to forgo the legal scalping known as Premium tickets, and to donate $50,000 to the ALS Foundation.
In the wake of a challenge issued by Weinstein in a Deadline report, Riedel agreed to see the musical, which ended its second tryout run this weekend, at the American Repertory Theatre. It’s scheduled to come to New York after the turn of the year, probably to the Nederlander-owned Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, soon to be vacated by Motown.
Riffing on the now ubiquitous “ice-bucket challenge” to raise funds for ALS research, Weinstein and Riedel agreed that if a post-performance poll produced a favorable reaction of better than 80%, the columnist would get the icing. Under 80% however and Weinstein — who’s staking his reputation as a major Broadway player on the show’s success — would get the dump. Ever the showman, Weinstein had a rep from Ernst & Young on hand to count the ballots.
The voting produced a 96% favorable rating. After the icing, Weinstein promised to write a $50,000 check to the ALS Foundation.
During a post-matinee conversation outside the Harvard Square theater, with many theatergoers enjoying the spectacle, Weinstein urged Riedel to emulate critics Roger Ebert and Pauline Kael and stop being “bitchy” in his coverage of Broadway shows, which is rather like asking Harvey Weinstein to stop campaigning for Oscars.
The carbon-witted columnist responded that he would change, on condition that Weinstein not charge the “obscene” ticket prices that go under the rubric of “Premium seating” and cost upwards of $500 per ticket. Somewhat astonishingly, Weinstein agreed.
“Are you going to charge those prices?” Riedel asked. “No,” Weinstein responded, adding “and you are going to stop being bitchy.”