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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.

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