×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Shirelles, Warwick sue over B’way ‘Baby’

Suit alleges unauthorized use of names, likenesses

A surviving member of the Shirelles, Dionne Warwick and Chuck Jackson are among those suing Warner Bros. Theater Ventures and Broadway Baby over the new Main Stem tuner “Baby It’s You!”

Former Shirelle Beverly Lee, as well as the estates of late Shirelles Doris Coley Jackson and Addie Harris McFadden, are all on board for the suit, which, according to the complaint, seeks to redress “the brazen unauthorized use of their names and likenesses in connection with Defendants’ new Broadway show.”

Filed in the New York State Supreme Court the day “Baby It’s You!” opened on the Main Stem, the suit alleges producers of the tuner are “cashing in on Plaintiffs’ stories and successes, while using Plaintiff’s names, likenesses and biographical information without their consent and in violation of the law.”

A spokesman for Warner Bros. Entertainment had no comment on the legal action.

“Baby It’s You!” uses Shirelles tunes to tell the story of the band and of Florence Greenberg, the New Jersey housewife who helped launch the group’s career. Show initially bowed at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2009.

Lawsuit recalls the rumblings of similar complaints over Broadway musical “Million Dollar Quartet,” another rock n’ roll backstager conceived by “Baby It’s You!” co-writer and co-helmer Floyd Mutrux. No suit was ever filed against “Million Dollar,” although a financial arrangement was eventually made between the production and Jerry Lee Lewis, one of the performers depicted in the musical.

More Legit

  • Three Sisters review

    London Theater Review: 'Three Sisters'

    Ennui has become exhaustion in playwright Cordelia Lynn’s new version of “Three Sisters.” The word recurs and recurs. Everyone on the Prozorov estate is worn out; too “overworked” to do anything but sit around idle. Are they killing time or is time killing them? Either way, a play often framed as a study of boredom [...]

  • Patrick Page, Amber Grey, Eva Noblezada,

    'Hadestown' Took 12 Years to Get to Broadway, but It's More Relevant Than Ever

    When “Hadestown” was first staged as a tiny, DIY theater project in Vermont, those involved could never have predicted that it was the start of a 12-year journey to Broadway — or how painfully relevant it would be when it arrived. At Wednesday night’s opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre, the cast and creatives discussed [...]

  • Hillary and Clinton review

    Broadway Review: Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in 'Hillary and Clinton'

    If anyone could play Hillary Clinton, it’s Laurie Metcalf – and here she is, in Lucas Hnath’s “Hillary and Clinton,” giving a performance that feels painfully honest and true. And if anyone could capture Bill Clinton’s feckless but irresistible charm, that would be John Lithgow – and here he is, too. Who better to work [...]

  • Hadestown review

    Broadway Review: 'Hadestown'

    “Hadestown” triggered a lot of buzz when this wholly American show (which came to the stage by way of a concept album) premiered at Off Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop in 2016. Arriving on Broadway with its earthly delights more or less intact, this perfectly heavenly musical — with book, music and lyrics by Anaïs [...]

  • Burn This review

    Broadway Review: Adam Driver, Keri Russell in 'Burn This'

    The ache for an absent artist permeates Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This,” now receiving a finely-tuned Broadway revival that features incendiary performances by Adam Driver and Keri Russell, playing two lost souls in a powerful and passionate dance of denial. AIDS is never mentioned in this 1987 play, yet the epidemic and the profound grief that [...]

  • White Noise Suzan-Lori Parks

    Listen: The 'Dumb Joke' Hidden in 'White Noise'

    Suzan-Lori Parks’ new play “White Noise” tackles a host of urgent, hot-button topics, including racism and slavery — but, according to the playwright, there’s also a “dumb joke” buried in it. Listen to this week’s podcast below: Appearing with “White Noise” director Oskar Eustis on “Stagecraft,” Variety‘s theater podcast, Parks revealed that the inspiration for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content