*Director Bill T. Jones is facing legal action over his Broadway hit Fela! by an author who claims the production is based on his 1982 authorized biography of the late Afrobeat legend.
Cuban-born author Carlos Moore filed a $5 million lawsuit in Manhattan federal court against Jones and other producers on Monday (Nov. 8) seeking to shut the musical down, claiming it’s based on his book “Fela, Fela: This B**ch of a Life.”
According to court documents, Moore was offered $4,000 for the rights to his Fela Kuti biography but turned down the “grossly insufficient” offer and demanded “an advance and participation in the royalty pool.” However, “no further offer was ever made.”
Moore alleges Jones and playwright Jim Lewis used the book anyway to develop the musical without his “knowledge, authorization or consent.”
Fela! spokesman Richard Kornberg tells the New York Post he was “really shocked” by the lawsuit because Moore took part in publicity efforts for the show.
It’s not the first time Fela! has been tangled in litigation – photographer Marilyn Nance filed suit against the show’s producers back in July, alleging an iconic picture she took of Kuti’s Nigerian nightclub was used in the production without her permission.