Fela! Producers Accused Of Stealing Play’s Concept From Book; Sued For $5 Million

(AllHipHop News) The author of a book on Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti has filed a $5 million dollar lawsuit against the producers of the Broadway Play Fela!. Carlos Moore, author of the 1982  Fela: This Bitch of a Life, filed the lawsuit in the United District Court in Manhattan yesterday (November 8th).Moore claims that in 2007, he was offered $4,000 for the rights to the biography about Fela, but rejected the sum because it was insufficient. According to the lawsuit, director Jim Lewis and director Bill T. Jones went on to create the Broadway musical Fela! without his knowledge or consent.“Entire portions were simply copied from Moore’s book and inserted into the script of the musical,” the complaint reads. One of Fela!’s producers told the New York Times that he was perplexed by the lawsuit, because Moore had participated in public events promoting Fela! which began a run on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in October of 2009.“Carlos has been incredibly supportive of the show. Several years ago, he saw the Off Broadway show. He was willing to sit and be interviewed by our people, to talk about Fela and Fela’s legacy, and that interview has been on YouTube for a long time, and at his request we have been selling his book in the theater since we opened and at our Web site,” said producer Stephen Handel. “We’re disappointed and somewhat perplexed, and hope at some point we can get this resolved.”In addition to seeking the $5 million, Moore is attempting to halt all future performances of the Tony Award winning play, which is slated to conclude on Jan 2, 2011.Fela!’s producers include Jay-Z, Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, Ruth & Stephen Hendel and others.

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