Joe Crowley producing Broadway show with ex-con

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Joe Crowley producing Broadway show with ex-con

The swamp is coming to Broadway.

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

The show, “Paradise Square,” is being brought to broadway by Garth Drabinsky.

Drabinsky, a real-life Max Bialystock, was busted in 2009 for keeping two sets of books and bilking investors of close to $500 million by claiming extravaganza 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 which ultimately bankrupted Livent, his Broadway production company. He was paroled in 2014.

Garth Drabinsky scammed investors out of close to $500 million.
Garth Drabinsky scammed investors out of close to $500 million.
Bernard Weil

The disgraced producer was only allowed into the United States in 2019 after charges here were dismissed with prejudice because of time served in Canada.

Crowley, a top-line producer for the new show, told The Post he was raising cash for the venture — though had wisely decided to keep his own money out of it.

“I’ve done very well,” he said of fundraising efforts so far. “New York City won’t come back until Broadway comes back, the restaurants, and bars and hotels … and I was able to communicate that with a number of folks.”

"Paradise Square" is scheduled to begin previews on March 15.
“Paradise Square” is scheduled to begin previews on March 15.
paradisesquarebway/Kevin Berne

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

Crowley has said he had no interest in getting back into politics and that “Squad” socialist AOC was “not on [his] radar.” Crowley is no longer a resident of New York, and has long lived in Northern Virginia.

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

“I have been to rehearsals, I have been to most of the recording sessions for the music. I have seen the play at its earliest inception when it played in Berkeley, in California. I have been working on it for three and half years,” Crowley said.

Paradise Square is a fictionalized account of Irish-black relations in New York's Five Points neighborhood in the 1860s.
“Paradise Square” is a fictionalized account of Irish-black relations in New York’s Five Points neighborhood in the 1860s.

“I have been kept abreast of all the things that have been going on and I am also a consultant to the play because of my Irish-American historical background,” Crowley added.

Paradise Square offers a fictionalized account of Irish-black relations in New York’s notorious Five Points neighborhood in the run-up to the bloody 1863 draft riots.

Crowley declined to comment on Drabinsky, though at least one Queens pol wasn’t surprised 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 somehow both shocking and not surprising at all that someone like Joe Crowley would be mixed up in something like this.”

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

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

The production is scheduled to begin previews on March 15, before formally opening at the Ethel Barrymore Theater on April 3.

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