Songwriters Sue Cyndi Lauper Over ‘Kinky Boots’ Finale

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Singer-songwriter Benny Mardones sued pop icon Cyndi Lauper in federal court, claiming Lauper lifted elements of his 1980s hit “Into the Night” for the finale of her award-winning Broadway musical “Kinky Boots.”

(Photo: Eva Rinaldi/Wikipedia)

Mardones joined “Into the Night” co-writer Robert Tepper in a lawsuit filed Wednesday, accusing Lauper of using “substantially similar” lyrics and music in the song “Raise You Up.”

According to Mardones, “Raise You Up” has played a pivotal role in the play’s success. It cites a New York Times review that singles out the song for “particular praise.” The complaint says the song elicited a “unique audience reaction” and “attracted a vast number of additional patrons to the production and resulted in substantial added revenue to defendants.”

Mardones and Tepper add: “Both the notes and the words surrounding the ‘raise you up’ refrain, sung repeatedly in the infringing work, have been copied from the notes and words ‘pick you up’ from ‘Into the Night.’”

They say the two refrains or “hooks” are “identical in form,” and says the songs contain the “exact same progression of tones and rhythm.”

Mardones transferred licensing and other rights to “Into the Night” to named defendant Spirit Two Music in May 1999. He says he served notice on the company two years claiming it had breached their agreement by licensing and profiting from Lauper’s “Raise You Up” and denying the similarity of the two works.

“Despite transferring and licensing various rights in ‘Into the Night’ to Spirit, plaintiffs retained substantial beneficial interest in the composition ‘Into the Night,’” the 19-page lawsuit states.

Named defendants include Lauper, Spirit, Independent Presenters Network, CJ E&M Corp., Just For Laughs Theatricals and Jujamcyn Theaters. The defendants have an ownership interest in “Kinky Boots” or were otherwise involved in the production.

Mardones released “Into the Night” in 1980. It was re-released in 1989, and is one of few songs to crack the top 20 of the Billboard 100 chart more than once.

Based on the British movie of the same name, “Kinky Boots” opened on Broadway four years ago and won a Tony award for best musical. The original Broadway cast album was released in 2013, topping the Billboard Cast Albums Chart and reaching number 51 on the Billboard 200.

Mardones seeks an injunction, account, damages, fees, and costs and is represented by Stephen Doniger of Doniger Burroughs.

Courthouse News has contacted Lauper’s representatives for comment.

 

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