Fela! Musical hit with lawsuit by star’s biographer

December 2010

Live events industry

Producers of the $5 million stage musical on the life of Fela Kuti have been hit with a five million dollar lawsuit from the late star’s official biographer, who claims the show’s creators have ripped off his book.  Carlos Moore says he was approached by the makers of ‘Fela!’ in 2007 and $4,000 for the stage rights to his biography. Calling that offer “grossly insufficient”, Moore rejected the offer, saying he’d need a considerably larger advance and a cut of any stage show revenues to agree to participate.  Moore claims he then heard nothing more before the opening of ‘Fela!’ in New York. The show, he alleges, is wholly based on his book, which was used by the musical’s creators Jim Lewis and Bill T Jones without his “knowledge, authorisation or consent”. He this week filed a lawsuit, claiming $5 million in damages.  Producers of the show, which is backed by Jay-Z and Will Smith among others and which opened in London last weekend, say they are shocked by the lawsuit, not least because Moore took part in the publicity that surrounded the show’s Broadway opening, during which he praised the stage show for its “tremendous accuracy”.
CMU Daily  10th November 2010 www.thecmuwebsite.com

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