Fela Kuti Biographer Slaps Fela! Musical with $5 Million Lawsuit
Published Nov 09, 2010Despite being hailed by critics and music fans alike, award-winning Broadway musical Fela!, which focuses on the life and times of legendary Afrobeat artist Fela Kuti, has made at least one enemy. The production is being sued by Carlos Moore, Kuti's official biographer.
A report from the Latest [via the Guardian] finds Moore outraged that he was not properly credited in the production. While he admits that he was approached during the development of Fela!, an agreement was never made between him and the producers to use material from his 1982 book, Fela: This Bitch of a Life.
"I felt hurt and humiliated. It was a slap in the face," Moore said.
Initial discussions in 2007 found the production offering Moore $4,000 for the rights to his tome, but the author claimed the offer was "grossly insufficient" and asked for "an advance and participation in the royalty pool." He claimed, "No further offer was ever made."
The lawsuit asks for $5 million in damages, alleging that playwright Jim Lewis and director Bill T. Jones used the book anyway to develop the Tony Award-winning musical without Moore's "knowledge, authorization or consent."
While it's unclear when the suit will hit the courts, chances are this situation won't get resolved before the play wraps up its stint on Broadway next year.