Musical based on Gwyneth Paltrow ski trial set to open in London | Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow’s legal battle with a retired Utah optometrist who accused her of injuring him in a skiing accident shared qualities with the most enthralling theatre: drama and teary testimony; a seemingly endless run of chic outfits; and even a devastating final line, whispered by Paltrow as she left the courtroom: “I wish you well.”
Months after the trial that stopped the internet, a stage musical inspired by the court case is set to open in London, with audience members serving as the jury.
Gwyneth Goes Skiing, put on by Awkward Productions and starting at the Pleasance Theatre in December, will feature original songs written by the US singer-songwriter Leland, who has worked with musicians including Selena Gomez and Troye Sivan.
Terry Sanderson took the Oscar-winning actor to court earlier this year over a collision at the Deer Valley ski resort in Utah in 2016. The 76-year-old sued Paltrow for $3m then later reduced this to $300,000, claiming she had caused a traumatic brain injury and four broken ribs after crashing into him. Paltrow’s attorneys called this “utter BS” and countersued, claiming Sanderson actually struck her.
The trial began in March and made daily headlines around the world as people tuned in for a glimpse into an elite world and as increasingly bizarre details emerged during testimony.
On the witness stand, Sanderson claimed the collision had resulted in a brain injury that caused him to no longer enjoy wine tastings, and joked that he would probably never be able to use a dating site again because of the infamy the litigation could bring, describing it as “the pain of trying to sue a celebrity”. One of his daughters also testified that he had become “obsessed” with the trial.
Asked to assess how she had suffered as a result of the crash, Paltrow coolly replied: “Well, we lost half a day of skiing.”
The trial was aired on live television, leading to a run of memes and endless analysis of Paltrow’s “stealth wealth” wardrobe, much of which was for sale on her wellness website Goop.
In April, jurors found Sanderson at fault for the crash and ordered him to pay Paltrow a symbolic $1 in damages, as well as her legal fees, which was estimated to be seven figures. He later told reporters it had “absolutely not” been worth suing Paltrow.
“She’s the Goop-founding, Door-Sliding, Shakespeare-In-Loving, consciously-uncoupling Hollywood superstar. He’s a retired Optometrist from Utah. In 2016, they went skiing,” the musical’s description reads. “On the slopes of Deer Valley, their worlds collided, and so did they – literally. Ouch. Seven years later in 2023, they went to court. Double ouch.”
The actor Linus Karp, who previously played Diana, Princess of Wales in Awkward Productions’ comedy Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story, will play Paltrow, while actor Joseph Martin will play Sanderson.