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Joe Crowley produces a Broadway show with an ex-con

The swamp comes to Broadway.

Former Congressman and Queens Democratic boss Joe Crowley directs a second act as a Broadway producer alongside a notorious industry ex-con.

The show, “Paradise Square”, is presented on Broadway by Garth Drabinsky.

Drabinsky, a true Max Bialystock, was arrested in 2009 for holding two book series and defrauding investors of nearly $500 million by claiming that outlandish productions like ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’, ‘Show Boat’ and “Ragtime” were smash hits instead of money-losing flops.

The Canadian impresario was sentenced in Toronto to seven years in prison on fraud charges that ultimately bankrupted Livent, his Broadway production company. He was granted parole in 2014.

Garth Drabinsky scammed investors out of nearly $500 million.
Bernard Weill

The disgraced producer was only allowed to enter the United States in 2019 after charges here were dismissed with prejudice due to time spent in Canada.

Crowley, a top producer for the new show, told the Post that he was fundraising for the company — though he wisely decided to keep his own money on the sidelines.

“I’ve been very successful,” he said of fundraising efforts so far. “New York City isn’t coming back until Broadway comes back, restaurants, bars and hotels…and I’ve been able to communicate that to a number of people.”

"place of paradise" is set to begin previews on March 15.
“Paradise Square” is set to begin previews on March 15.
place du paradis/Kevin Bern

Crowley, who was arguably the city’s most powerful party leader before shockingly losing to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a 2018 primary, now works as a lobbyist at Squire Patton Boggs.

Crowley said he had no interest in returning to politics and that the socialist AOC “Squad” was “not sure [his] radar.” Crowley is no longer a resident of New York and has long lived in Northern Virginia.

He said he was drafted into the Broadway effort shortly after leaving Congress by Irish rocker Larry Kirwan of Black 47.

“I’ve been to rehearsals, been to most of the recording sessions for the music. I saw the piece in its early days when it was performed in Berkeley, California. I’ve been working on it ever since. three and a half years,” Crowley said.

Paradise Square is a fictional account of Irish-Black relations in the Five Points neighborhood of New York City in the 1860s.
“Paradise Square” is a fictional account of Irish-Black relations in the Five Points neighborhood of New York City in the 1860s.

“I’ve been kept up to date with everything that’s happened and I’m also a consultant for the play because of my Irish-American background,” Crowley added.

Paradise Square offers a fictional account of Irish-Black relations in New York’s notorious Five Points neighborhood on the eve of the bloody riots of 1863.

Crowley declined to comment on Drabinsky, though at least one Queens pol was unsurprised by his involvement in the production.

“This is a perfect example of the corruption and poor judgment that has plagued the left-wing political establishment in New York for years,” said Queens GOP Councilwoman Vickie Paladino. “It’s kind of both shocking and not at all surprising that someone like Joe Crowley should be involved in something like this.”

Crowley declined to comment on Drabinsky.
“New York won’t come back until Broadway comes back,” Joe Crowley said.
Credit: Kevin Berne

Last month, the cast of the show were told by their union not to show up for rehearsal, allegedly after payment issues. A rep for the show insisted that all staff had been fully paid.

The production is set to begin previews on March 15, before it officially opens at the Ethel Barrymore Theater on April 3.