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In his heyday, David Merrick was the most powerful producer on Broadway. He had taste. He was prolific. He knocked out hits — “Look Back in Anger,” “Hello, Dolly!” “42nd Street.”

And he could put the fear of God in actors, writers, directors and agents. When crossed, he retaliated — swiftly and brutally.

Scott Rudin is the David Merrick of today. He’s certainly got taste (“Fences”). God knows he’s prolific (movies, Broadway, television — he does them all). As for hits, well, his latest — “The Book of Mormon” — will make more money than all of Merrick’s winners put together.

And like Merrick, he does not suffer fools, especially ones who go back on their word.

The latest to run afoul of the powerful producer is actor/playwright Bruce Norris, whose play “Clybourne Park” won the Pulitzer Prize last year.

Rudin loved it and was bringing it the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway this spring. Rudin was also an admirer of Norris’ acting talent. He recently cast him as the older brother in “The Corrections,” the eagerly anticipated pilot he’s producing for HBO — based on Jonathan Franzen’s celebrated novel.

But on Monday, after three months of contract negotiations, Norris abruptly withdrew from “The Corrections,” blithely telling Rudin, “I don’t like to do pilots.”

Source: Full article @ New York Post

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