Man with 15 prior arrests brutally attacks ‘Lion King’ violinist, promptly gets released with no bail

Prior arrests included assault, menacing a stranger with a baseball bat, and harassing a former partner.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
The Big Apple is not so safe for Broadway artists. Musicians have been repeatedly attacked by violent criminals who are preying on them right outside theater doors. 

The New York Post reports that a 66-year-old violinist with the Disney production "The Lion King" was brutally assaulted after exiting the Minkskoff Theater's stage doors on Aug. 5. She was shoved to the ground and her wrist was fractured in 10 places, which nearly ended her career, according to the ouetlet.

The 34-year-old suspect who attacked her, Michael Allen, was a repeat offender with a long rap sheet and had just been released from jail, only to re-offend. He had 15 prior listed arrests, which included assault, menacing a stranger with a baseball bat, and harassing a former partner.

Allen was arrested and charged with felony assault in the attack, and was promptly released from police custody—all with no bail. 

Another Lion King violinist was attacked multiple times within the past year outside the theater. On the first occasion, he was approached by a robber who attempted to jack his musical instrument that was strapped to his back. Two months later, he was attacked by a different criminal who he was forced to punch in order to escape.

The union representing these musicians, Local 802, issued a press release detailing the assaults.

"Broadway musicians were victims of a greater number of health and safety issues this past year. Many Local 802 members are justifiably concerned for their personal safety when working in Broadway houses. Some potentially fatal accidents and physical attacks have occurred recently inside and outside of theatres. Producers seem hesitant to take preventive measures until it’s too late," the union said.

On March 10, outside the New Amsterdam Theatre, a substitute drummer for "Aladdin" was struck in the head with a weapon resembling a tree limb by an unknown assailant. The victim was on his way inside the venue to perform that evening.

“It seemed like a 'knock out game' kind of thing," the musician, 62, told the outlet. "He hit me as hard as he could when I wasn't looking, and ran away."

Although the assault left the drummer with "dents" in his skull, he continued to perform. However, a few days later, he developed slurred speech and was unable to walk upright.  A visit to the emergency room resulted in a concussion diagnosis. Since then, he has not performed in the area.

"I've been playing drums in that area since 1978, doing Broadway stuff since 1990. I've never ever been assaulted. Ever," he said to The Post.

NYPD data shows that the number of felony assaults in the Midtown South Precinct, which includes the Minskoff and New Amsterdam theaters, has increased by 114 percent since the pandemic. As of Dec. 10, there have been 456 such attacks, up from 213 for the entire year of 2019, the outlet reports.

According to police data, felony assaults in the precinct decreased by less than 1 percent through Dec.10 compared to the same period last year.

These assaults have sent shockwaves across the Broadway community, leaving artists worried that it's only a matter of time before they become the next victim.

Deborah Assael-Migliore, a cellist who has performed on Broadway since the '80s, told the outlet: "I've never had a fear of coming into the Theater District until now."

“There's way more unhinged people floating around the theater district who are out of control, it's way more crowded, and it seems police can't get it under control," she said.

Another longtime Broadway musician, who is looking into buying self-defense tools, told The Post that the city needs to reassess its new progressive bail reform laws.

"[Bail reform] definitely feeds into this, no question," he said. "The guy who attacked the violinist, he's got a rap sheet a mile long, and every time he assaulted somebody, he was back out on the street. They don't lock people up."

Local 802 President Sara Cutler said the theater needs to hire more security to ensure the safety of performers, musicians, and audience members.

"Security needs to be visible to people walking by because if it's not, it doesn't serve as much of a deterrent," she said.

In the press release, the union told its members to be aware of potential safety issues and to be proactive.
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