Producers of the Broadway musical "Baby, It's You!" were slapped with a lawsuit Wednesday only hours before opening night by several musicians including Dionne Warwick and three of the four original members of The Shirelles claiming their names and likeness were used without permission.
The complaint filed in New York State's Supreme Court alleges the producers of the musical did not get permission from Warwick, Chuck Jackson or Beverly Lee, Doris Coley Jackson and Addie Harris Jackson of The Shirelles to portray them on stage. It seeks unspecified damages.
"These national treasures were taken advantage of at the infancy of their careers," said Oren Warshavsky, a lawyer at Baker Hostetler, which filed the lawsuit. "Now they have to watch it done to them again on stage and once more not get paid."
Paul McGuire a representative for the show's producers _ Warner Bros. Theater Ventures Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Broadway Baby, LLC _ said they had not received the lawsuit and would not comment.
The show, which stars Tony Award winner Beth Leavel, traces the career of recording executive Florence Greenberg, who discovered several acts at the dawn of rock 'n' roll. It features actors portraying The Shirelles, Warwick and Jackson, and performances of some of the songs they made top sellers.
The Shirelles were formed in 1958 in New Jersey and had hits with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," "Dedicated to the One I Love," "Mama Said," "Soldier Boy" and "Baby, It's You." Among the tunes for which Jackson was known: "I Don't Want to Cry" and "Any Day Now." Warwick's hits include "Walk on By" and "Don't Make Me Over."
The musical, which has a story written by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott, began previews on March 26 and officially opens at the Broadhurst Theatre on Wednesday evening.