Yet another Kevin Von Feldt production of "A Christmas Carol" is under a cloud. Von Feldt, producer of the widely-panned and technically troubled Kodak Theatre production of a couple years back, is in trouble for allegedly not paying musicians at a production in suburban Minneapolis. As reported in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Some angry musicians say they've run into a Scrooge in Kevin Von Feldt, producer of "Mame," "A Christmas Carol" and the upcoming "Peter Pan" musical at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center (BPAC). Von Feldt, the shows' producer, hasn't paid them stipends for their work; it's a repeat performance, they say, of his past failure to pay his debts to performers and others. The Wisconsin man has a checkered history, including a conviction for false advertising in a movie-promotion scam and for "job training" for a nonexistent airline.
It might be an interesting exercise to Google "Kevin Von Feldt" and try to find an untroubled production. It is true that in this case, the Burnsville MN production was not only under a cloud of Von Feldt's making (that is, his reputation, which I've blogged before), but one from Mother Nature: the snowstorm that collapsed the roof of the Metrodome.
Von Feldt does respond personally to the criticism. In the long trail of comments on latest the Star-Tribune piece, he writes:
I hope we do well on Peter Pan and stay blizzard-free. Any surpluses will be used to cover stipends and other ... obligations and then used for future productions. Anyone in attendance at either MAME or CAROL will confirm that they were terridic professional productions at affordable prices in a beautiful facility.
And after my last blog on this, Von Feldt left me a voicemail asking why Off-Ramp, a radio show out of Los Angeles, was interested in his doings in the Midwest. Well, Kevin, because when you do a production in Los Angeles, like the one at the Kodak, scores of theatre people - musicians, actors, techs, directors, etc. - put their faith in you. And since paying jobs in theatre are increasingly scarce, many feel they have no choice but to gamble that this time, they'll be paid ... on time, or at all.