Broadway Scam Centers Around Soprano Kathleen Battle
Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - 05:15 PM
Kathleen Battle is preparing a long-awaited return to the Metropolitan Opera this November, but a fraudulent Broadway project has her in the headlines right now.
The soprano’s name is at the center of a scam that reports are comparing to another Broadway production, The Producers. Talent agent Roland Scahill raised approximately $165,000 for a one-woman show about the falling out between Battle and the Metropolitan Opera. Scahill had told his investors that he secured the rights for the story from Battle and claimed that Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o was on board to portray the beleaguered singer.
Investors were tipped off to the hoax when it was announced that Nyong’o would be starring on Broadway in Eclipsed, a play about an enslaved woman in Liberia, a far cry from the backstage antics at the gilded Met.
According to prosecutors, neither one of the women had knowledge of “The KB Project,” nor did the Schubert Organization, the operator of the theater where Scahill said he would stage the play. A representative for Battle did not respond to a request for comment.
Instead, the money from seven investors, went to pay off Scahill's credit card debt, rent, food, alcohol and entertainment, according to reports. The largest bulk, $129,000, went into a depleted investment account.
The play was supposed to take place on the day that Battle was unceremoniously banned from the Met. In February 1994, then director Joseph Volpe fired the soprano for what he called “unprofessional actions” during rehearsals for La Fille du Regiment.
Battle's exile from that stage will end on Nov. 13 with the presentation of her solo recital: “Kathleen Battle: Underground Railroad — A Spiritual Journey."