Entertainment & Arts

Fela! show is sued by biographer

Fela! cast members - picture courtesy of Monique Carboni
Image caption The production opened in the US in 2008 and is being shown in London later this month

Producers of the award-winning Broadway musical about the life of Afrobeat star Fela Kuti are being sued in the US.

Carlos Moore, the late musician's official biographer, claims the producers of Fela! breached his copyright.

He says they failed to credit his book about Kuti as a source of the show and is seeking $5m (£3.1m) in damages.

A spokesman for the show's producers claims Mr Moore had previously supported the production.

Richard Kornberg said he was "really shocked at this turn of events" because Mr Moore was on the show's website giving his endorsement.

"The idea he is now suing the production that a year ago he was praising seems weird to me," Mr Kornberg said.

Mr Moore wrote the book, Fela Fela: Cette Putain de Vie.

He claims passages from the book feature heavily in the musical and appear verbatim.

Music legend

The legal case states that Mr Moore was first approached by representatives of the production in 2007 and was offered money for the exclusive rights to his book.

But Mr Moore says his agent rejected that offer.

The production opened in July 2008 and Moore was invited in June 2009 and again in September 2009 to attend rehearsals and consult with the creators, the legal papers claim.

International music star Fela Kuti was known for his fight against corruption and injustice. The show was last year nominated for best musical at the Tony Awards.

As well as damages and product sales resulting from the show, Mr Moore is seeking to stop the production opening at London's National Theatre.

The show, for which rapper Jay Z and actor Will Smith are executive producers, is currently being previewed in London and officially opens on 16 November.

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