OCEAN CITY – Ocean City is spending at least $232,500 this year hiring performers and celebrities to either hold concerts or make appearances at various special events, according to documents the Sentinel requested.City officials have publicly rebuffed criticism about spending money for these celebrity appearances, stating they help bring visitors and bolster the city’s reputation as an entertainment destination.
Using the Open Public Records Act, the Sentinel obtained 10 contracts the city made with agencies representing actors, singers, dancers and athletes the city had or will have appear in 2019.
On Nov. 29, 2018, council approved a contract with The Stander Group, Inc. for bringing “I Dream of Jeanie” star Barbara Eden as grand marshal for the Doo-Dah Parade and the Mr. Mature America Pageant.
The $20,000 contract included a $2,500 plane buyout plus 80 percent of merchandise sales to the artist and 20 percent to the city.
According to the contract, the city provided one-bedroom suite, two single rooms for two nights in same hotel with a restaurant., ground transportation, lights and sound for the performance, and local security.
Council on Nov. 29, 2018 approved a contract with United Talent Agency and KMJ Music for the appearance of Katherine Jenkins with the Ocean City Pops for Aug. 11, 2019. The estimated contract value of $52,000 includes all meals, lodging, air-ground transportation for artist, guest and all staff.
The contract consists of a piano rehearsal with the conductor on Aug. 10, the exact time and place to be decided, and a full rehearsal with orchestra on the day of concert.
The contract also stipulates the concert’s length (115 to 120 minutes including a 15-minute intermission), hotel accommodations for four people for up to two nights, and sets parameters for the number of performers in the orchestra and their instruments. In addition, the contract includes a post-show reception with season ticket holders for 30 minutes.
A $23,000 contract between the city and Gersh, Inc. for singer Cheyenne Jackson to perform with the Ocean City Pops on Aug. 21 includes all meals, lodging, air/ground transportation for the artist, guest and all staff.
Jackson’s contract specifies two nights either at the Flanders Hotel or the Port-O-Call Hotel, plus a $2,000 travel stipend to cover roundtrip airfare and ground transfers. The city would provide the sound, lights, backline and technical requirements and dinner the night of the show, the contract states.
In addition, a two to three-hour rhythm section rehearsal is required for concerts with a full orchestra. The contract describes what kind of drums and piano should be provided, and a private dressing room containing tea, honey, water, lemon, fresh fruit, a steamer for clothes, and a lint brush.
The contract also provides for hotels (3.5 stars or above), a non-smoking room in quiet area of hotel, with the city covering WIFI fees if applicable.
On Feb. 28, council approved a $15,000 contract between the city and Athletics First LLC for Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles’ appearance at the March 30 Sports Collectible and Memorabilia Show in the Ocean City Music Pier.
Sproles was contracted to do a question and answer session, sign autographs and take photos with fans. According to the contract, the cost of the appearance will be offset by the paid admission to the event and the fee for autographs and pictures.
The city provided ground transportation to the appearance and following the event.
On Feb. 28, council approved a $15,000 with Athletics First, LLC to bring former Philadelphia Phillies Matt Stairs to the March 30 sports collectible and memorabilia show.
According to Stairs’ agreement, the city allows Stairs to appear from 2 to 4:15 p.m. at the show, and spend 45 minutes at a moderated Q&A session and 90 minutes signing autographs and taking pictures with attendees.
“The Talent may refuse to autograph any item the Talent deems in their sole and absolute discretion as unreasonable for signature. Company will ensure that the location at which the Appearance shall take place is a well-policed and safe environment suitable for the Talent’s participation,” according to a clause in the agreement.
Council on March 28 approved a $35,000 contract with Twisted Booking and the Ernest Evans Corporation F/S/O/ Chubby Checker for Chubby Checker and the Wildcats as grand marshal of the Night in Venice parade on July 13 and a concert performance on July 12.
According to a memo from the city’s Director of Community Services Michel Allegretto to purchasing agent Joseph Clark, ticket sales to the concert will offset the cost of Checker’s appearance.
The contract states that the artist will be paid in full “rain or shine” and that the city will provide seven king hotel rooms for one night July 12 and two king hotel rooms for July 13. The city will also provide backstage hospitality as well as dinner the night of the concert, with a stipulation no alcohol be provided, according to the contract. An exclusivity clause in Checker’s contract states that he will not perform publicly for 75 miles for two months before the event and one month after without written permission to the city.
A rider in the contract expressly bans words like “oldies,” “nostalgia,” or “revival” when promoting Chubby Checker and the Wildcats performance. And no banners, signage or posters promoting other artists will be allowed on or around the stage area when Checker is performing.
A technical rider includes a concise list of sound equipment to be used at the performance, itemized and in detail. The contact also contains a stage plot, diagramming the setup of each performer and their equipment.
On Feb. 27, the city signed a $12,500 contract with The Stander Group, Inc. for “Ballroom with a Twist,” a dance event at the Ocean City Music Pier on May 11. The event features eight dancers inclusive to two “So You Think You Can Dance,” two “Dancing With the Stars” celebrity pros and two “American Idol” finalists.
Professional dancers Anna Trebunskaya and Tristan MacManus appeared at the event.
The city signed a $10,000 agreement with Group5Productions, LLC on Jan. 24 for singer and “American Idol” alumnus Lakisha Jones to perform Sept. 7. The contract states the concert will be 90 minutes with a 20-minute intermission and sets out the performer’s itinerary for rehearsals. The city will arrange the sound and light techs, a dinner for the artist, musical director and musician, and provide adequate dressing rooms for the artist and musicians. The contract requests bottled water, tissues, towels, makeup mirrors and adequate lighting for the dressing rooms.
The contract also stipulates that the artist will also have a right to sell her CDs and other merchandise at the concert, and a $1,500 travel stipend and three hotel rooms be provided.
On Jan. 29, the city council approved a $20,000 contract with Three Blankets, Inc. for Star Trek actor LeVar Burton to appear at the city’s Ocean City Comic Book & Collectible Convention April 6 to 7.
The contract includes a provision that no recordings be made or transmitted from the venue without the artist’s permission and that the city will “make a good-faith effort to prevent anyone from doing the same.”
According to the contract, an upgraded room for two to three nights at the Port-O-Call Hotel will be provided and registered under a pseudonym, the information kept confidential. The city will also provide a $2,500 travel buyout, $300 participation costs, and $225 to Heroes for Hire, the contract states.
Other provision in the contract include bar height tables with “comfortable padded chairs for autograph signing,” a selection of “healthy food and beverages” in the Green Room, and an accurate tallying process giving the artist a clear report of sales.
The contract specifies the city will not give photos or videos of the artist to The Globe, National Enquirer, Sun, Examiner, Weekly World News, News of the World, Daily Mirror, Today, Hello, The Sun, TMZ or “similar so-called ‘tabloid’ magazines or websites.”
The city entered an agreement March 7 with PRM Entertainment to bring singer Patina Miller for a July 14 concert at the Ocean City Music Pier. The $30,000 contract includes specific rehearsal times, setting the concert length, and four first-class hotel rooms for two nights at accommodations the artist approves.
A radius clause prohibits the artist from appearing in an orchestral concert within a 75-mile radius of the venue two months before or after the event, unless the city agrees.
(The city announced this week that a scheduling conflict will prevent Miller from performing. In her place, Caissie Levy, star of Broadway’s “Frozen,” will perform. Details of her contract were not available as of press time.)