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AGENCY NEWS: Miles Copeland Moves Into Agency Booking With CODA USA – – Theatrical Agent George Lane Joins CAA From William Morris (Click on More to view all articles)

Ark 21 Records founder and artist manager Miles Copeland and former William Morris agent Debbie Jhaj have launched CODA USA, a full-service, one-stop shop management, booking and recording enterprise, where all three divisions will work together to break new artists.

Jhaj told CelebrityAccess that part of the new company's vision is "to give artist development a chance again. I was looking to do something boutique style. It's a pleasure working with a mogul."

Copeland is already partners with Phil Banfield in the CODA booking agency in London, which recently celebrated its first anniversary. "Part of our vision is to bridge the gap between the European and American agents," said Jhaj.

Housed out of Copeland's Firststars office in Sherman Oaks, CA, Jhaj is not bringing any of the acts she worked with at William Morris, but will begin working immediately with Ark21 artists."It's been hard to get them agent representation," Jhaj said. Firstars and Ark21 handles numerous international artists.

Theatrical Agent George Lane Joins CAA From William Morris

Theatrical agent George Lane has joined Creative Artists Agency after becoming what the New York Times described as "the most powerful agent on Broadway" while at the William Morris Agency. The move also will give CAA greater presence in New York City, where Lane will continue to work. CAA historically has little interest in legitimate theater dating back to the Michael Ovitz days. Thus the hiring of Lane is a major change of direction for the agency.

CAA does not have a full-time office in New York. "It does represent a change of strategy for us," CAA's Bryan Lourd told the New York Times. "We really believe, existing in a climate where comic books and franchises are the order of the day, that new material and writers need to be fostered more than ever. And in the theater and in television, the idea of original writing holds real value."

"We have a lot of younger actors who view the theater not only as a breeding ground but a permanent home," added Lourd. "It's not a successful year for Ethan Hawke or Ralph Fiennes or Billy Crud unless they do a movie and a play."

While CAA has confirmed that Lane has joined the agency and will remain in New York, CAA has not confirmed any clients who will make the move with him. Playwright Jon Robin Baitz told the New York Times that he would follow Lane to CAA. "The most interesting aspect for me is that CAA is deciding to invest in New York and in plays," he said. "It harks back to an older understanding of the theater."

Some of Lane's other clients are playwrights Edward Albee, Richard Greenberg, Suzan-Lori Parks and Warren Leight and directors Daniel Sullivan and Robert Falls.

The CAA hiring of Lane seems to have taken William Morris by surprise. William Morris senior vice president Chris Petrikin told the Times that Lane's departure would offer them an opportunity to restructure the department and add staff. "We are staunchly committed to the theater," he said. The Times speculated that two William Morris agents, David Kolodner and Susan Weaving, both with impressive client lists, are candidates to head the theatrical department.

Billy Messer Forms New Agency

After less then a year with 26.2 Billy Messer has left to form Union Artists Group, located in Buffalo, SC. Previous to his stint at 26.2 Messer spent four years at Mountain Entertainment in SC.

Union Artists Group’s contact information is:
498 Bailey Road
Buffalo, SC 29321
864-427-6463 fax

His roster consists of:
Dan Hannon Band
Elliot Sloan of Blessid Union Of Souls
Five Way Friday
Jag Star
King Konga
Pay The Girl – Non-exclusively with Justin Hirschman — AGI / Artist Group International
St. Somewhere
Weekend Excursion