Good Morning Hong Kong show sued over dismissal dispute

Two directors of Good Morning Hong Kong musical take company to court for firing them and using their names to promote ticket sales

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 May, 2013, 4:04am

A musical portraying Hong Kong during the 1997 handover has been cast into the spotlight - for the wrong reasons - after two of its directors filed a suit against the production company alleging they were wrongfully dismissed.

Good Morning Hong Kong's music director Warren David Wills and director Frank Howson have filed a High Court writ against Good Morning Hong Kong Limited for "wrongfully summarily dismissing" the pair earlier this month.

The company is promoting and staging the musical, which opens today and will run until Sunday.

Wills and Howson allege that as a result of their contract termination, they obtained, through their lawyers, the company's assurance their names would not be used to promote the show or to suggest they were still employed by the company.

But after they left the company, a number of publications - including the South China Morning Post's magazine 48 Hours - were allegedly used to "promote the show and exploit the plaintiffs' reputations by passing off that they are still employed by the defendant", the writ read.

The pair are claiming for damages as a result of what they described as the "unlawful passing off of their names as associated with the show".

The company sold the public tickets to the musical by "wrongly exploiting the plaintiffs' names in marketing the show", they said.

Allan Payne - the company's chief executive officer, the writer of the musical and one of the owners of the company - told the Post that the show remained unaffected by the lawsuit.

As of yesterday, the company continued to promote the musical and tickets remained available for sale.

The show will be staged as scheduled from tonight at the Academy for Performing Arts in Wan Chai, according to its official website.

On the website, a note from Payne about the history of the musical stated: "Good Morning Hong Kong started with an idea for a song, called Try, try, try, that grew from one to two, then half a dozen and finally over 20 songs, all wrapped in a story.

" Try, try, try itself has moved around the musical and has been sung by different cast members in different places in the story, but at long last, it seems to have found its right place.

"Very trying, but I've found that the creative people that are helping me, like to put the songs and situations to a real test before they are satisfied where they work best."