Real Estate

"Sleep No More" Countersues Landlord, Vows Show Continues

"Sleep No More" embroiled in legal battle with landlord over fraud, safety concerns, reflecting broader post-Covid theater industry challenges.

By Tal Alexander

4/4, 10:18 EDT

Key Takeaway

  • "Sleep No More" countersues Centaur Properties, alleging breach of contract and fraud amid eviction efforts from the McKittrick Hotel.
  • The production claims Centaur's rent demands and lawsuit aim to cover its own financial struggles, despite a lease amendment promising renegotiation.
  • Amidst legal battles, "Sleep No More" plans to continue its immersive "Macbeth" shows until its scheduled closure on May 27.

A Theatrical Dispute Beyond the Stage

The immersive theater production "Sleep No More," known for its unique take on Shakespeare's "Macbeth," finds itself embroiled in a legal battle with its landlord, Centaur Properties. This conflict, however, extends beyond typical landlord-tenant disputes, touching on allegations of fraud, breach of contract, and endangering guest safety. The production accuses Centaur of unethical practices and sabotaging the show to conceal its financial struggles, a narrative that unfolds against the backdrop of the production's impending closure and the broader challenges faced by the theater industry in a post-Covid world.

Legal Tug-of-War

At the heart of this dispute is a complex legal battle where both parties have filed lawsuits against each other. "Sleep No More" alleges that Centaur, led by Harlan Berger, engaged in a pattern of fraud, including reneging on promises related to rent increases and lease renegotiations. These allegations come after Centaur's lawsuit aimed at evicting the production from the McKittrick Hotel for operating without a public assembly permit, a claim that raises significant safety concerns. This legal tug-of-war highlights the precarious nature of agreements made in times of financial desperation and the potential fallout when such agreements unravel.

The Bigger Picture: Safety and Financial Struggles

The broader implications of this dispute touch on critical issues facing the theater industry today, including the importance of safety regulations and the financial viability of productions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The allegations of operating without a necessary public assembly permit underscore the need for stringent safety measures in theater productions, a concern that has become even more pronounced in the context of the pandemic. Additionally, the financial struggles faced by both "Sleep No More" and Centaur Properties reflect the broader economic challenges confronting the theater and real estate sectors, respectively.

A Reflection on the Theater Industry's Post-Covid Recovery

This legal battle between "Sleep No More" and Centaur Properties serves as a microcosm of the larger challenges facing the theater industry in its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The dispute sheds light on the financial difficulties and safety concerns that have come to the forefront as productions and venues navigate the post-pandemic landscape. Moreover, it raises questions about the future of immersive theater experiences and the spaces that host them, highlighting the need for adaptability, financial resilience, and strict adherence to safety regulations.