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Could Casey Anthony’s story be headed for Broadway? Steven Soderbergh’s “Tot Mom” premieres in Sydney Australia

October 28, 2009

Leave it to the Aussies!! (and no, I’m sorry to say this isn’t a joke)TOT MOM PLAY

Sydney Theatre Company presents: “Tot Mom”

from their website……

“In June 2008, toddler Caylee Anthony was reported missing by her grandmother in Florida.  What followed was  a high profile investigation into her disappearance, an investigation that saw the child’s own mother-Casey Anthony-implicated in what was later discovered to be a homicide.

While the strange facts of the case baffled police investigators they also sparked massive media and public interest.  Why was Caylee’s disappearance not reported to police for over a month?  When was the child last seen?  What was the strange smell in the boot of Casey Anthony’s car?  Who and where was the alleged babysitter?

Often controversial legal commentator and host of a popular telelvision show, Nancy Grace, was outraged by the case. Her public crusade for justice for little Caylee transformed the case from a tragic story to a 24 hour news spectacle.

Using excerpts from transcripts of Nancy Grace’s show, court documents and police reports, Steven Soderbergh has created Tot Mom–a compelling drama for our sensation-hungry times.”


Sidney Theatre CoSydney Theatre Company presents TOT MOM, Created by Steven Soderbergh 18 December 2009 to 31 January 2010. Opens 23 December 2009 at 8pm Wharf 1, Sydney Theatre Company, Pier 4, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay.

Olivier Award winning and Tony Award nominated actress Essie Davis,  last seen at STC seven years ago in The School For Scandal makes a welcome return to the Company and leads a stellar cast that also includes Wayne Blair, Zoe Carides, Damon Herriman, Rhys Muldoon and Peter Kowitz.

Essie Davis as Nancy Grace

Essie Davis plays Nancy Grace

Well, gag me– 😡

Jill! (our resident blogger from Down Under) You have to check this out for us.  Wonder if George and Cindy are planning on being at the premier? Speaking of which, please tell me the Anthonys will not profit one iota from this disgusting endeavor!

check it out below:

49 Comments leave one →
  1. Ideas permalink
    October 28, 2009 7:37 pm

    Well!! Will NG get kickbacks from this? She does have a one-of-a-kind-shrill banter!

    Is the interest in the style of the NG show, or of the case itself?

    So, what would you liken the sensation of this case to….the story of life of Sybil, and the movie of her with Sally Fields?

  2. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 28, 2009 7:57 pm

    Ideas–IDK! We’ll have to take up a fund to send Jill to Sydney for a viewing! LOL. If I had to guess, since Nancy Grace is the main character in the play, it will be more about how she sensationalized the case?

    That’s a good question. I think I would liken it to OJ more than Sybil. That’s the last time I remember a murder taking on a life of it’s own in the news.

  3. ostella permalink
    October 28, 2009 8:11 pm



    Jill, get on your broomstick and fly to Sydney, and get to the bottom of this. Right now, young lady!

  4. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 28, 2009 8:25 pm

    I bet Jill already has her tickets!

  5. Renee permalink
    October 28, 2009 8:45 pm

    this is more than disgusting. How could this story of murder be a play? This must be a joke.

  6. Molly permalink
    October 28, 2009 10:40 pm

    WHAT? Can’t believe what i’m reading!
    Steven Soderbergh is a big time director too.
    baffling . . . . .

  7. October 28, 2009 11:55 pm

    wow , Is this Entertainment? That is about the sickest idea anyone has come up with for murdered babies!!

  8. ostella permalink
    October 29, 2009 12:49 am

    Does anybody know if Nancy Grace or CNN trademarked the name “Tot Mom?”

  9. Jill from Western Australia permalink
    October 29, 2009 1:48 am

    Hiya my l♥velies…I hate to disappoint y’all but I won’t be going to Sydney {which is over 4,000 kilometers from Perth…airfare + accomodation for one person would be > $1,000.}

    Sadly I will have to forego this opportunity due to health reasons 😥

    However I will be scouring the tabloids for any further information about this production and will of course report back with any findings.

    As I am not familiar with the arts I wonder if Ostella or Bees {who from memory have been involved with theatre?} could suggest the best way to find who is paying for this.

    Ostella I have a nagging suspicion that NG did trademark the name “Tot Mum” and as she is mentioned in the promo’s I am expecting a financial connection.

    What strikes me as strange is that there has been very little media coverage about this case here in Australia. This makes me wonder if this debut is all about “testing the waters” as to the public reaction?
    Perhaps if it gets rave reviews the entourage may move to America?

    We must remember the negative outrage about Diane Fanning’s book until we found out that NO profits would be going to the Ant family. {I ordered her book about a month ago…with the decline of the $US it will cost me around Australian $25.}

    I would be very suprised if the Ants were to make one dime from this production. Would you all help me compose an email diplomatically enquiring about this…or do you think it would be better to bombard them?

    I look forward to your suggestions

    Hugs ♥♥♥

  10. Ideas permalink
    October 29, 2009 5:04 am

    As in most entertainment–it supposedly imitates life.

    I think the Caylee case could have a lot to say to people in a play. Perhaps it would make parents more conscious of their parenting…especially the struggles with parenting adults, dealing with lies, power struggles, etc. It would also caution grandparents about overstepping their bounds…[“Caylee was all our child”]

    The Anthony mistakes are easy to see from a distance and a play would help other parents who are muddled in the middle of their lives in survival mode.

    If the play is about NG, there is so much there. Does NG help more than hurt?

  11. mikka permalink
    October 29, 2009 7:03 am

    i am so upset,he blame nancy,cindy and cma start the media drama,this man is not better than the anthonys,he make money from caylees murder!

  12. mikka permalink
    October 29, 2009 7:07 am

    may bozo and the anthonys have a deal with this company,sounds like!

  13. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 29, 2009 7:25 am

    Good Morning, everyone!

    You know, the theatre site states that he is–

    “Using excerpts from transcripts of Nancy Grace’s show, court documents and police reports, Steven Soderbergh has created Tot Mom–a compelling drama for our sensation-hungry times.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, but if he uses stuff that is public record he wouldn’t have to compensate anyone would he? I don’t know if the Nancy Grace show transcripts are in the public domain, but you can obtain them for free, so I’m guessing they aren’t? That means any profits won’t be going to the Anthonys or Nancy Grace.

    Even though my initial reaction was “gag me”, after thinking about it, I tend to agree with Jill and Ideas. We felt the same about Diane Fanning’s book at first.
    A play–and let’s remember it’s a drama not a comedy—A play with a director and writer of the caliber of Stephen Soderbergh may offer some valuable social commentary and insight into the psychology of this case. We’ll have to wait and see. I wonder if a script of the play is available somewhere?

    What does gag me is the idea that Casey might get off on the fact that there’s now a play about HER. “I’m ready for my close-up now, Mr. DeMille.”

  14. Spacely permalink
    October 29, 2009 7:28 am

    Soderbergh has produced a large number of films, so my bet would be that he is the financial force behind this play. Although he may not and most likely is not actually footing the bill himself, he most likely arranged all of the financing from other backers – which I would guess to be American film companies as he is really a Hollywood guy.

    I think Jill put her finger on the exact reason for this opening in Australia – to test the market reaction.

    I would also think that by putting out this play now, they are perhaps locking up some copyrights that will require direct participation in a project by the Ants or another primary party in the case (like a defense lawyer after the trial is completed). Hard to say in a case where the material is based on real life and all the international laws, but I have to think that is part of the reason for getting this play out there before the trial is even started.

  15. mikka permalink
    October 29, 2009 7:38 am

    what comes next,a opera about katie behlich!god bless katie!

  16. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 29, 2009 8:44 am

    from wikipedia: Copyright does not cover ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed. For example, the copyright to a Mickey Mouse cartoon restricts others from making copies of the cartoon or creating derivative works based on Disney’s particular anthropomorphic mouse, but it does not prohibit the creation of other works about anthropomorphic mice in general, so long as they’re not copies or adaptations of Disney’s mouse. In many jurisdictions, copyright law makes exceptions to these restrictions when the work is copied for the purpose of commentary or other related uses.”

    If I’m understanding this correctly, I think that anyone can write a play or book about Casey Anthony. Where the copyright laws might come into effect (and I have no idea what’s in this play but Soderbergh is well-respected) would be if Nancy Grace really did trademark the “Tot Mom” title, (which I don’t think she can-because it would be like me copyrighting the generalized sentence, “It’s a mystery to me” The idea “It’s a mystery to me!” is not copyrightable, but if I own a website called “It’s A Mystery To Me!” that’s a manner in which the “idea” is uniquely expressed and would be copyright-able or trademark-able. (are those words?????)

    So, if Nancy Grace created a show called “Tot Moms” or wrote a book called “The Tot Mom” then that “specifically” (the show or the book only) would be copyright-able. Someone set me straight if I’m wrong.

    Sorry, that was long-winded, but copyright laws can be complicated.

  17. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 29, 2009 8:44 am

    mikka–that’s hilarious. Hey, I’d pay to see an opera about Kathi Belich. I love that girl!!!

  18. mikka permalink
    October 29, 2009 8:45 am

    isamysterytome,i love her too!katie is the only reporter who fight for caylee and the truth!

  19. Hadley permalink
    October 29, 2009 9:21 am

    Mikka, Love your kitty’s photo. So pretty…looks like he has sunglasses propped on top of head…lol

    I know I wouldn’t care to watch a play about Caylee’s murder…I also detest the word “Tot Mom”…yuk

    I do intend to buy D. Fanning’s book. I have read several of her books in the past, and I think she will give us some insight into the A.’s
    family dynamics.

  20. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 29, 2009 9:34 am

    I love your kitty cat photo, too, mikka. What’s his/her name?

  21. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 29, 2009 9:34 am


    I’m on the pre-order list for Diane Fanning’s book as well. I’m looking forward to reading it, and also think she is a good and accurate true crime writer.

    Diane–if you’re reading this–We love you here!

  22. mikka permalink
    October 29, 2009 9:35 am

    you can vote here,on the right side,about theatre

  23. mikka permalink
    October 29, 2009 9:36 am

    hadley,thank you,i find (his name is clyde) looks like a cow! 😆

  24. mikka permalink
    October 29, 2009 9:38 am

    isamysterytome i brought clyde from germany to america when i moved here,the funny is i was talking german with him and now in america i talk english with him,and he understand.animals can learn different language!

  25. Renee permalink
    October 29, 2009 9:55 am

    GM, or hello. I really find it in bad taste and disgusting that a play has been created about this murder. The trial has not even taken place yet. And yes, my opinion is that this director is trying to line his pockets. Drama play or not, there should not be a play about a murdered child. I find that horrific and hope that not very many people buy that $30.00 ticket to see it.

  26. Renee permalink
    October 29, 2009 10:01 am

    Drama play about a child’s murder and a sociopathic mother must be the result of a bad economy?

  27. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 29, 2009 10:25 am

    I voted mikka!

    Besides being quite handsome, Clyde looks pretty smart, but I’m wondering, (having been “owned” by quite a few cats in my lifetime) if perhaps he didn’t really have to learn a new language–He just discovered a universal way to “work you” no matter what language you speak! No words required! LOL. My cats have always assumed that I existed merely to fulfill their every whim! And they were right!!

  28. Renee permalink
    October 29, 2009 10:41 am

    that should read: maybe he is dealing

  29. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 29, 2009 10:42 am

    Renee–I agree with you. On several levels. It’s in terrible taste, but of course, good taste, in this country, went out the window several generations ago, and nobody seems to care.

    Ialso agree that the fact that this play has been written and will open without a verdict in a trial that won’t take place at least until the middle of next year, has everything to do with gettin’ a chunk of the action while the gettin’s good.

    There will, without a doubt, be a slew of books, made for tv movies, etc. etc. etc. after the trial, and the majority of that pie will go to those closest to Caylee and Casey–namely the grandparents and her attorneys.

    Her attorneys have to wait til then, and her family seems only interested in projects that might tilt the odds in their daughter’s favor right now.

    I would imagine that will change after the trial. Either Casey will be free and she will receive top-dollar for her story, or she’ll be in jail for life or on death-row and her parents will be clamoring for the big bucks for their “real” story.

    Now is the time to strike if you don’t have an inside track.

  30. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 29, 2009 11:01 am

    Renee–Thanks for the link. I just posted on it.

  31. Molly permalink
    October 29, 2009 12:02 pm

    mystery – the transcripts from the NG show would be copyright protected. I’m assuming he got permission to use whatever is in them.
    You can’t copy a tv show & start showing it around town or on the internet either. The transcripts are a part of her show & believe they would fall under that protection also.

  32. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 29, 2009 1:15 pm

    Thanks, Molly for that info. I guess I knew that and had a brain fart.

  33. Hadley permalink
    October 29, 2009 7:32 pm

    Isn’t it a joy to have someone as precious as Mikka on this blog? I think everyone adores her.
    Mikka: I have three dogs…a Yorkie, Shih Stzu, and a little mixed breed!

    I’m so sad about little Somer’s murder. According to LE, it is someone that lives in the same area. They said she had soot on her little body, so maybe, just maybe, they will be able to find fingerprints in the burned out house! Parents in that area must be terrified! The sad thing is NO WHERE IS SAFE anymore!

    Dear God, Protect our children, and let the person that took little Somer’s life be caught and brought to justice quickly. Amen

  34. Hadley permalink
    October 29, 2009 7:48 pm

    Mystery, I have watched Nancy Grace for years, and have the deepest admiration for her and the great work she is doing to bring justice to the victims. However, IF she is involved in this play, I am more than disappointed in him. To me, this is in the poorest of taste, and I find even the thought of a “Play” repulsive, and degrading. It’s almost like people are now thinking about little Caylee as a “money-maker, and that outrages me! I just wonder if they will include just how terrified, scared, and filled with pain, this baby was when her little mouth/nose was duct taped, and she looked into the eyes of the “creature” that slaughtered her??

    May you rest peacefully precious Caylee. No more sorrow, no more pain, sweet baby.

  35. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 29, 2009 9:28 pm


    Yes, Mikka is a treasure and I’m so glad to be able to call her my friend! I love you, Mikka!

    I feel that way about everyone here and on Niecey’s blog. I love you guys!!! (sniff, sniff)

    And I second your prayer for our children, Hadley. I don’t envy those that are trying to raise their children in the world we find ourselves in today.

  36. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 29, 2009 9:30 pm


    I agree with you about the play. To me, the theater is pure entertainment, and I can’t imagine being entertained by the murder of a baby. In Nancy Grace’s defense, we have no reason to believe she is involved in this play. I hope she’s not.

  37. Jon permalink
    October 30, 2009 9:27 am

    I wonder if George and Cindy will fly to Australia for the premier so that they can sell autographs! Wouldn’t put it past them. I think he should have named the play “Bella Vita”……

  38. mikka permalink
    October 30, 2009 9:58 am

    isamysreytome,love you too and all the friends who want justice for caylee,caylee brought us all together ,people with passion and huge hearts! 😉

  39. mikka permalink
    October 30, 2009 10:00 am

    hadley,i love my pets and i am sure you love yours,pets dont care who or what you are,she know when you feel good or not,and give love no matter what!

  40. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 30, 2009 10:53 am

    not bella vita, Jon, but triste vita

  41. itsamysterytome permalink*
    October 30, 2009 10:55 am

    I agree with that, mikka. I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life, EVER, when I didn’t have either a dog or a cat. (Dogs, now, because my husband and 2 of my sons are allergic to cats. Abby, the black lab, Murphy the golden retriever, and Sadie, the mutt.)

  42. Mr Jason Owens permalink
    November 6, 2009 4:06 am

    Ok. So I feel i need to leave a response here. I will never ever reveal my identity and i will only post here once. There are several things that need to be cleared up, especially since the official “media response” is so limiting.


    2) The ‘take’ on this is about the media sensationalism of a tragic story and how we, as consumers, lap it up and want and expect more, even though only a small percentage of the “FACTS” that are presented have even got close to the justice system.

    3) Steven Soderbergh is donating his ENTIRE fee to a children’s charity.

    4) The theatre company producing the show is a NOT FOR PROFIT company.

    5) The theatre company producing the show HAS NO AFFILIATION OR RELATIONSHIP WHATSOEVER to any of the people involved in the case.

    6) The theatre company producing the show WILL LOSE MONEY ON IT.

    7) All of the material in the script is VERBATIM from public record and rights exclusively given by CNN. Every single word spoken by every single actor in every single second of the script is VERBATIM from public record and CNN broadcasts. No artistic licence whatsoever has been taken with ANY of the dialogue. To do so would violate the copywright permission that has been granted.

    8) Do not pass judgement or offer opinions on a presentation/performance that hasn’t even been staged yet. Wait until it opens, come and see it and then make an opinion. To make a completely ill informed and totally inaccurate statement based on media reports that have scant basis in reality only inflames the exact topic this play is seeking to expose and offer up for public debate.

    9) Be an INFORMED and RESPONSIBLE member of the global community, not a knee jerk reactor to it.

    10) That is all.

  43. itsamysterytome permalink*
    November 6, 2009 7:12 am

    “Mr. Jason Owens”

    Thank you for your post. This post and the responses were based on the information the media provided at the time.

    I did, however, email The Sydney Theatre Co. and asked them exactly who was profiting from this play, They kindly responded.

    I wrote another post and included their full email back to me. It is located at the link below. The title of the post is, “Sydney Theatre says they will not profit from Tot Mom and neither will Steven Soderbergh” No one at that time was saying anything about whether or not S.S. was making money on this play, so I was glad to learn in their email that he was not.

    Thank you for your comment and for making it even more clear that no one is making anything from this venture.

  44. darren permalink
    November 9, 2009 1:26 am

    I was listening to a podcast interview where D. Fanning is asked about “profiting from the death of Caylee”.

    Diane giggled, slightly, and stated the this is the only case out of all the cases she has ever been associated with that the issue of “profiting from the death of….” is being disscussed at all, not to mention the constant harping on the issue.

    All the people in the investigation, the trial, the trial coverage, and the trial coverage comentary make a profit- they make a living-

    If paid individuals stop being paid, hence stop working on case, then the story is forgotten- the community resolves nothing, learns nothing, changes nothing, let them profit a day long, if we are talking about babiees being murdered, stolen, vanishing, then the cycle of silence, shame, fear has ended….. if Caylee can help one mom make a better choice, save one baby, then let them profit!

    I am certain that Caylee is in a place where petty issues like money do not exist, do not matter- it is the outcome, the lesson.

    I don’t care if the Ant’s use cash as toilet paper- as long as a single family learns to step up and protect their babies, file fo custody, refuse to allow a dangerous parent to flee with a child- follow their gut- And if faced with a tragic loss help the police-

    why does everyone care about the money, who has it, who’s getting it, and from whom they are getting it from? Who Cares? Why CARE about something so petty- there are countless forums, chats, articles, video talking about who’s profiting- wastes of time, huge waste (haha) —seriously, that time and energy would be better spent on advocacy,

  45. mit permalink
    December 15, 2009 7:00 am

    No One is making a profit off of the play “tot mom”. Steven Soderbergh is donating all to the “U.S. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children”. The Sydney Theatre will make NO profit from this production. This production of “tot mom” takes a compelling look into how a crime can come to grip an entire nation thru INTENSE MEDIA and public attention. It seeks to hold up a mirror to our society, raising ETHICAL questions about the way in which a case is dealt with in the public domain…..
    surrounding a tragic case where a defendant has not even been convicted yet. Therefore, transforming the case from a tragic story to a 24 hour news spectacle.

  46. justin permalink
    December 22, 2009 7:52 pm

    I saw a preview of the play last night. The script of course is verbatim drama meaning every word spoken is taken from direct transcripts from 911 calls, dialogue in the Nancy Grace show, interviews and Court proceedings.

    The subject of the play is definitely the media treatment of the murder, not the incident itself.

    As an Australian and a lawyer I can say that learning of the kind of coverage Nancy Grace can give in the US to an inconclusive murder investigation is a bit of a revelation. To me it seems to inevitably prejudice the mother’s right to a fair trial no matter what the evidence is against her. The rules about that stuff are a bit different in the US than in my country however.

    While staging the drama even in another country before the criminal trial gets underway is risky drama, it was handled very sensatively by Soderbergh. He presents all sides of the case and the media issues (which I cannot say for Nancy Grace). It is the immediacy of the events in the drama that give the play its relevance, and it is definitely theatre at its most relevant.

    (Olivier award winning and Tony award nominee) Essie Davis was strong in carrying the play where she only appears on stage via her full close up ‘talking head’ projected onto a TV screen, from which she talks to the other actors. S

    All profits from the show are being directed to a charity for abused children so there can be no suggestion Soderbergh’s motives are opportunistic.

    I have a 2 year old daughter so I understand why people would be cautious in approaching the play, but the message it speaks is an important one about the double horror that occurs when a crime like this gets played out so sensationally through the media for public consumption, eclipsing the human scale of the real tragedy.

    As I understand it Soderbergh has agreed with Nancy Grace, and perhaps for his own reasons as well, not to stage the play in the US.

    Congratualtions to the Sydney Theatre Company for having the guts to run it, and good luck with opening night tonight.

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