Follies battle to end
March 23, 2012
As far as Annette Velarde is concerned, the Park City Follies conflict is over and will not go to court.
In a letter that ran in The Park Record last Wednesday that was also signed by Dwayne Vance, Julie Hooker and Annette’s husband, Ricardo, Velarde who was accused by the leadership of the Egyptian Theater of hijacking the name of the annual spoof said she is "gifting" them the trademark rights to "The Park City Follies" moniker.
In an interview, Velarde said she would not contest the Egyptian Theatre’s motion to cancel her copyright registration of The Park City Follies name.
"I will also not contest their applications for the copyright that are currently pending," she said.
Egyptian Theatre board of directors vice president Michael Labertew, who is head of the theatre’s Follies subcommittee, said the Egyptian Theatre board of directors was happy that matter as a whole can come to a close.
"It came as a happy surprise," he said. "We’re glad the situation has resolved itself."
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The breaking point for Velarde came when she heard the Egyptian board of directors had allegedly threatened to not hire an actor if he was going to work with Velarde.
"I sat with a friend who could not sleep because he had given me his word he would be in my show this fall, and he said the Egyptian told him if he was in my show, not only will he not be in their show, but he will not be able to perform on the Egyptian stage again," Velarde said. "I found out they had been doing this to a number of the core actors. These are my friends who never wanted to get involved with this in the first place."
Labertew said that was untrue.
"There is a nuance to the rumors, and the Egyptian had nothing to do with this decision," Labertew said. "The creative team had been speaking with someone who wanted to direct (Annette’s) production, and the creative team said that they believed that would create a conflict of interest if that person also wanted to act in the Egyptian’s Follies."
Labertew also said all the actors that appear in the Follies productions appear for free.
"As far as affecting anybody’s livelihood, it wouldn’t make any difference," he said.
A few days after the letter ran in The Park Record, a lawyer for Park City Performances, the Egyptian’s creative team, sent a letter of settlement to Velarde.
The letter, which was shared with The Park Record by Velarde, listed a number of criteria that needed to be met in order for the settlement to happen.
The list asked Velarde "to assign all rights she may hold in her alleged Park City Follies mark and U.S. registration to Park City Performances, as well as transferring all copyrights and moral rights of works she authored for past Park City Follies productions to Park City Performances and to assist them in obtaining pertinent assets from third parties involved in producing past Park City Follies productions.
"Their response to my gift was a laundry list of further demands," Velarde said.
Labertew said he was "familiar with the offer letter."
"Our attorney is aware of what Annette referenced in the newspaper, but to my knowledge, we haven’t heard back from them, yet," he said.
Velarde said there’s nothing left to do but to focus on her new production, called "An Evening of Giving a #%*$," which she plans to present in the fall. She has a few venues in mind, she said.
"The new show is going to happen," she said. "We’re going to go on and have fun and we’re going to help everyone and hope the Egyptian has the success that they hope this kind of aggression will get them."
Labertew said he is looking forward to moving on with the Egyptian’s "One True Follies" production that will be presented in April.
"We’re looking forward to our upcoming production and while I can’t talk for the Egyptian board, I, personally, am looking forward to seeing her production unfold in the coming months," he said. "I’m glad to be focusing on more important things, and I think we echo Annette’s sentiment in that regards."