Fela!, the award-winning Broadway musical about the late Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, which opened in London this week, could face closure after the author of a book about the Nigerian superstar sued the producers. He claims that they stole his work and thought an offer of $4,000 (£2,500) was all he deserved for copying portions of his book into the play's script.
Lawyers for Charles Moore demanded in the lawsuit in the US District Court in Manhattan that the Broadway show as well as the London production be blocked. The lawsuit also sought at least $5m in damages.
Moore is the author of Fela Fela: Cette Putain de Vie and the copyright owner of its English translation, Fela This Bitch of a Life, which, the lawsuit maintains, is the only authorised biography of the composer, singer, musician and political activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who died in 1997 at the age of 58.
Richard Kornberg, a spokesman for the show's producers, said he was "really shocked at this turn of events" because Moore is on the show's website endorsing it and helping to publicise "how wonderful this production is". Mr Kornberg added: "So the idea he is now suing the production that a year ago he was praising seems weird to me."
The London production opened at the National Theatre on Saturday.Reuse content