The creator of the Golden Girls-themed puppet show that's showing in Union Square's DR2 Theatre is being sued less than a month into the production's run. And somehow, this has nothing to do with Bea Arthur's sassy ghost.
Before creating "That Golden Girls Show!", Jonathan Rockefeller—who is credited as the show's sole writer and creator—co-created another Golden Girls-themed show, "Thank You For Being A Friend," with Thomas Duncan-Watt, who alleges that Rockefeller's latest show is nearly identical to the show they wrote together, the Times reports.
"Thank You for Being a Friend" was produced by Neil Gooding and Matthew Henderson, who filed the suit alongside Duncan-Watt, and had runs in Australia and Toronto. After the show's initial run, Gooding, Henderson, and Duncan-Watt reportedly planned on bringing it to North America and the UK—but Rockefeller allegedly licensed the show to a Canadian theater and removed Duncan-Watt from the credits.
Rockefeller then allegedly convinced his former co-writer to create a new script, which he promised would be produced internationally. Instead, Rockefeller allegedly removed Duncan-Watt's name from the script (again) and billed it as "That Golden Girls Show!" in New York.
"A best friendship of 10 years has been fractured by the selfishness of Jonathan, who needs to be seen as an all-powerful genius that writes, directs, and produces and does it himself," Gooding told the Times.
Rockefeller also allegedly refused to show his former colleagues the script and set up an email account pretending to be a lawyer, which he allegedly used to stop Duncan-Watt and the producers from contacting him. Rockefeller contends he's done nothing wrong.
"The plaintiffs had a very limited license from us to produce 'Thank you for Being a Friend' and their license made absolutely clear that we are able to proceed with another show, even if it competes with their show," Rockefeller said in a statement through his attorney.
"We are completely within our legal rights to produce 'That Golden Girls Show!' and view the plaintiffs' efforts as an unfortunate attempt to smear the show and Mr. Rockefeller in the press, perhaps in a misguided attempt to obtain a cash settlement or perhaps to deflect attention that their production has not performed as well as they may have hoped."
A spokesperson for the show told Gothamist that the lawsuit won't affect the remaining run of "That Golden Girls Show!", which has been extended until December 31st.