Theatre puns running low among journos at Drabinsky-Gottlieb trial
This country’s most famous and fabulous theatre impresario and his long-time partner went on trial for fraud yesterday morning in a large, airy courtroom (under an enormous coat of arms featuring a lion and a unicorn and the words Dieu et mon droit) on the fourth floor at 361 University Avenue—a mere driver and a wedge from the theatres that made Garth Drabinsky famous. The setting was likely a little dull for Garth’s taste. He did look good: tan and fit in a snappy check suit, with that insane shag carpet still growing out the top of his head. There were the usual oyeh, oyeh, oyehs, followed by the introduction of the Crown and its opponents, the Greenspan brothers.
The public benches were full to brimming with various Starers, Globites, CTVers, CBCers, a Bloomberger, a Blatchford, and my fellow Black blogger, the ever-affable Steve Skurka. Oh yeah, and a Grade 12 law class from Father Henry Carr. Eddie G. looked more at home in robes and collar than when I last saw him, wandering aimlessly among the cameras and ink-stained troglodytes in Chicago, on Conrad Black’s sentencing day last December.
He even trotted out a lame joke—something about having no one from the RCMP with him (the Crown has a couple of investigators from the force sitting on their side of the room). Then came six snappy “not guilties” from the two co-defendants, followed instantly by the Crown’s opening statement, which was delivered in less than 90 minutes by lead prosecutor Robert Hubbard.
As is usually the situation in these things, the substance of the case isn’t exactly South Pacific—though it was bracing to hear about an alleged musical theatre three-card monte in which money may have been moved from Ragtime to Candide to Phantom of the Opera and then somehow magically into the alleged pockets of the alleged fraudsters.
When the show was over for the day, a gaggle of journos hung around listening to an off-the-record insider speculate: “I realize this is language I shouldn’t use with ladies present, but have you ever heard of starfucking?” The journos all nodded as one, knowing pretty much exactly what he was talking about. It got me wondering about the grander picture, about why so many high-profile Canadian business types continued to sit on the board during a period in which it is now alleged things were going amiss, and about that peculiar mid-’90s phase when Show Boat applied not just to the players onstage, but also to those who pulled the strings.
• Livent trial opens with allegation of ‘large-scale fraud’ [Globe and Mail]• Livent duo plead not guilty [Variety]• Crown’s opening at Livent trial required intermission [National Post]• 2 sets of Livent books, trial told [Toronto Star]• Livent bosses Drabinsky and Gottlieb directed massive fraud scheme, Crown alleges [CP]