Piven arbitration hearings set for June

NEW YORK In a statement, the show's producers said Wednesday the case will be heard June 8-9 in New York by George Nicolau, a professional arbiter. It follows a grievance hearing held last month at Actors' Equity Association in which a committee composed of five Equity members and five members of The Broadway League, which represents the producers, did not resolve the dispute.

Piven abruptly left the revival of the David Mamet play in December after his doctor said he was suffering for mercury poisoning after eating too much fish over a lengthy period of time.

The producers said in a statement that they were preparing their case, and "in connection with that, have requested a wide range of relevant information from Mr. Piven relating to his claims that an alleged illness required him to leave the show."

Among the information requested, the statement said, were "medical records and documentation of Mr. Piven's activities both during and after the run of the show."

In response, Piven spokeswoman Samantha Mast, said in a statement that the actor was looking forward to testifying at the arbitration.

"The fact that the producers issued a statement announcing the arbitration dates suggests that this is part of a punitive strategy to intimidate actors so that they ignore serious health symptoms and the advice of medical professionals due to fear that they will be sued," she said.

"Speed-the-Plow" opened last October to favorable reviews and by the time the revival ended its limited engagement Feb. 22 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, it had recouped its $2.26 million production costs.

Three different actors - understudy Jordan Lage, Norbert Leo Butz and William H. Macy - followed Piven in the role of movie mogul Bobby Gould. Mamet's three-character play about Hollywood glamour, sex and power, also starred Elisabeth Moss of AMC's "Mad Men" and Raul Esparza.



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