Opening in London just in time for the festive season, Gwyneth Goes Skiing will follow the high-profile legal battle between Paltrow and 76-year-old retired optometrist Terry Sanderson over an alleged ski slope collision
In theatreland, courtroom dramas are so in right now. In London, Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution, staged in an old courtroom in County Hall, has drawn audiences for years. The Jodie Comer-starring Prima Facie was such a critical darling that it made its way over to Broadway. And earlier this year, the iconic feud between Coleen Rooney and Rebecca Vardy was adapted into the hit play, Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial.
The latest courtroom-set stage show, though, will undoubtedly ice out the competition: a musical adaptation of the legal battle between Gwyneth Paltrow and 76-year-old retired optometrist Terry Sanderson over an alleged ski slope collision.
Titled Gwyneth Goes Skiing (lol), the musical will run from 13-23 December at London’s Pleasance Theatre and will feature original songs by Leland, who has worked on music with Troye Sivan and co-wrote the legendary RuPaul’s Drag Race UK hit “UK, Hun?”
“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,” reads a synopsis. “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. This is their story. Kind of. Not really. But also, it’s at Christmas.”
According to a report in Deadline, the musical will follow the events of the pair’s high-profile legal spat, which saw Sanderson initially sue Paltrow for $3 million after he alleged that the Goop-founder had caused a “violent collision” on a ski slope, leaving him with four broken ribs, a concussion and lasting brain damage.
Sanderson’s initial claim was dismissed, but the former optometrist was determined and launched another suit against the jade egg-advocate, this time for $300,000.
For her part, Paltrow denied the allegations, countersuing Sanderson for $1 and her legal fees. In court, the Shallow Hal star’s attorney, Stephen Owens, rejected the 76-year-old’s claims, suggesting that it was Sanderson who had, in fact, caused the collision. Taking the stand, Paltrow said that she was “gently” skiing down the slope before Sanderson “categorically” collided with her. “That is the truth,” she said.
Sanderson, meanwhile, argued that Paltrow was to blame for their 2016 snafu, claiming that the collision sent him “absolutely flying” down the slope. “All I saw was a lot of snow,” he said. “I didn’t see the sky, but I was flying.”
As reported in NBC News, Paltrow was asked whether the accident had affected her “very expensive vacation”, to which the View from the Top actor said: “Well, I lost half a day of skiing. Yes.”
Paltrow was also forced to deny that she was friends with Taylor Swift and was asked whether she left good tips. Sanderson was accused of being fame-hungry and of targeting Paltrow because of her celebrity status.
Nevertheless, despite grillings on both sides, a jury found that Sanderson was the one at fault for the collision. Then, in something out of an episode of The Good Wife, on her way out of the courtroom, Paltrow bent over and whispered to Sanderson: “I wish you well.” (Which absolutely needs to be the name of the musical’s closing number.)
The upcoming run of Gwyneth Goes Skiing does have us thinking about some other iconic celeb court cases that are ripe for the stage. For example, Katy Perry’s legal battle over property against a nun, who later collapsed and died in court, would make for a thrilling musical.
Gwyneth Goes Skiing runs from 13-23 December at the Pleasance Theatre in London. Tickets are available now.