NICK LASZLO is no longer working with Nederlander Entertainment or his own company following a media report where an anonymous tipster claims he sexually assaulted an aspiring actress and encouraged her to engage in sexual activity with him.
According to Lazzarini’s lawyer, he maintains the woman’s accusations are false and in retaliation. He will fight the accusations personally.
Nederlander Entertainment and their dance troupe, American Ballet Theatre, are a major part of Nederlander Productions, which in turn, produces and produces Broadway shows, including Grease, Annie, and Hello, Dolly! According to Entertainment Weekly’s investigation, a 39-year-old woman alleges that while auditioning for ABT in 2005, she met Lazzarini and he put his hands under her skirt and onto her behind. She reportedly encouraged her to perform oral sex on him. The woman said she reported the incident, which allegedly took place in August of 2005, to Nederlander, who did not involve the police or the New York Department of Human Services.
She said Lazzarini laughed when she told him she was uncomfortable. She said she reported the incident to ABT Director Kent Stowell the next day, and they staged a sit-down with Lazzarini where he apologized. She received a letter of support from former ABT Principal Dancer Katherine Harrell, who said that she was standing by the dancer, but she felt powerless because Lazzarini convinced her he was at a higher level. ABT called the matter an “isolated incident” that happened years ago and claims he did not apologize.
ABT released a statement via email to the company: “We take allegations of this nature very seriously and we have a zero tolerance policy for such behavior. This matter is now being handled internally.”
Nederlander Productions maintains Lazzarini is innocent and are investigating the matter.
A piece on Medium ran an excerpt from the man accusing Lazzarini of misconduct, which included screenshots of texts between Lazzarini and his alleged victim, as well as an apology from Lazzarini. However, at the time of the Medium piece’s publication, Lazzarini denied the allegations to CBS News’ “Inside Edition” via telephone.
Lazzarini has two shows on Broadway: the cancelled Broadway revival of “The Bodyguard” and the revival of “Wonderful Town.” His shows are part of the performing arts touring company NK Productions and ran from June 6th through December 31st.
According to his attorney, Lazzarini had nothing to do with the productions and had a personal relationship with the performers. Because the shows have been discontinued, he is unable to work with his own company and with Nederlander Entertainment again.
Lazzarini’s press rep issued the following statement to EW.com: “Mr. Lazzarini maintains these allegations are false and that he has no facts or evidence to support these charges. He has retained counsel and will fight the allegations personally. He will not be responding to the slanderous charges.”