MANHATTAN (CN) – The surviving members of The Shirelles and Dionne Warwick claim Warner Bros. brazenly used their names and likenesses to push the new Broadway show, “Baby It’s You”: “Plaintiffs, having been cheated out of their royalties when they were young and popular, are now victimized again.”
The complaint continues: “Defendants are cashing in on plaintiffs’ stories and successes, while using plaintiffs’ names, likenesses, and biographical information without their consent and in violation of the law.”
Beverly Lee, The Estate of Doris Coley Jackson, The Estate of Addie Harris McFadden, Chuck Jackson, and Dionne Warwick sued Warner Bros. and Broadway Baby LLC in New York County Court.
Lee, Coley, Harris and Shirley Owens, high school friends, formed The Shirelles in 1958 in Passaic, N.J. “The Shirelles were the first major female vocal group of the so-called ‘rock-n-roll era,’ defining what has been called the ‘girl group sound’ with their soft, sweet harmonies and yearning innocence,” they says in their 13-page complaint.
Their hits include “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” – the first “all-girl” group to get a No. 1 song, “Mama Said,” “Soldier Boy,” and “Baby Its You.”
The Shirelles led “the first integrated concert show in Alabama, and helped introduce a young Dionne Warwick to the female pop scene,” they say in the complaint.
Now, they say, the defendants have the brass to promote their play as “The Shirelles Musical.” It was scheduled to open Wednesday at the Broadhurst Theater on 44th Street.
The plaintiffs seek punitive damages for civil rights and publicity violations and unjust enrichment, an accounting and costs. They are represented by Oren Warshavsky with Baker & Hostetler.