Wednesday, June 04, 2008

NY Management firm files suit against 'Hairspray' star Nikki Blonsky

Nikki Blonsky


June 3, 2008

Landing a starring role in the 2007 film "Hairspray" may have been a big break for Great Neck actress Nikki Blonsky.

But it should have also been a big break for her management firm, according to a suit filed by the firm's partners, who say they deserve a share of Blonsky's overnight success.

Margaret Karaszek and Michael Ostrowski, partners in the Elmont entertainment firm Morgit Management, have filed a lawsuit in a state Supreme Court in Nassau claiming that Blonsky, 20, and her mother, Karen Blonsky, breached their contract by not cutting the firm into the money Blonsky earned in the role.

Blonsky's attorney, James Doherty, of Manhattan, declined to comment.

According to a news release issued by Morgit in 2006, Blonsky was an "unknown" when she landed a lead role as Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 screen adaptation of theBroadway musical "Hairspray."

In the release, Ostrowski and Karaszek said they sent a tape of Blonsky to the film's casting team, and even drove Blonsky into Manhattan for an audition during a dreadful snowstorm.

"Everyone said we were crazy, but it was worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat for Nikki," Karaszek said at the time.

Blonsky was picked for the role in June 2006 -- six months after her contract with Morgit expired. Morgit's attorneys maintain Blonsky's mother verbally agreed to renew the contract for at least two years.

Morgit's attorney, James Ostrowski of Buffalo, Michael Ostrowski's brother, maintains the firm deserves its standard 20 percent cut for helping Blonsky land the role, which won her a 2006 Critics' Choice Award. Ostrowski said he did not know how much Blonsky earned for the role.

Blonsky's attorneys argued that Morgit is not entitled to any commissions after the contract expired. They argued that Morgit provided only managerial services, not those of a theatrical employment agent.

Blonsky's attorneys recently tried to have a judge dismiss the suit, arguing that if the firm was acting as an agent, it required an agent's license, which it did not have. Last Thursday, State Supreme Court Justice Stephen Bucaria dismissed the motion. "The line between management and agent is a somewhat murky one," Ostrowski said.