The new musical “Baby It’s You!” opened April 27 at the Broadhurst Theatre under the co-direction of Floyd Mutrus and Sheldon Epps. Mutrux and Colin Escott share book credits for this two-act tuner, which has come under fire by the very musicians it depicts.
“Baby It’s You!” tells the story of housewife-turned-record exec Florence Greenberg (played by Beth Veavel), who plucks the members of ’60s girl group The Shirelles from obscurity and starts up the Scepter label. The jukebox musical enmeshes The Shirelles’ hits with those of other R&B staples of the day.
However, the biographical tuner has faced a legal challenge by Beverly Lee of The Shirelles, Dionne Warwick, Chuck Jackson, and the estates of late Shirelles members Doris Coley Jackson and Addie Harris Jackson — all of whom are portrayed in the production.
The artists allege their names and likenesses are being used without permission. According to a report by Reuters, the artists had been in on-going talks with the defendants (Warners Bros. Theater Ventures Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Broadway Baby LLC) but were unable to reach an agreement.
Tickets are currently on sale through September 4 for the tuner, which has an open-ended production calendar. Regular ticket prices on Telecharge.com range from $48.50 up to $126.50, with premium seats marked at $176.50.
Previews of “Baby It’s You!” began March 26 at the Broadhurst, which has a 1,152-person seating capacity. Since then, weekly attendance has varied from 74 to 97 percent capacity, based on the Broadway League’s reports. The show has grossed more than $1.5 million so far, with consistent weekly grosses, though average paid admission has declined from $68.99 the first week to $46.24 the week ending April 24.
“Baby It’s You!” runs two hours and 30 minutes, including an intermission. Evening performances are currently staged at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, and 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; matinees run at 2 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday. But beginning June 13, the Wednesday evening showtime will be nixed in favor of a Friday matinee at 2 p.m.
Broadhurst Theatre is located at 235 West 44th Street in New York, NY. Ticketing and scheduling details for “Baby It’s You!” are available on the production’s official Web site.
Opening Night: “Baby It’s You!”
|Variety||Steve Suskin||“Direction by Mutrux and Sheldon Epps is busy, and choreography by Brigitte Mutrux is overly busy.”|
|New York Times||Charles Isherwood||“…superficial and weirdly frenetic…”|
|TheaterMania||Andy Propst||“The characters…are depicted as laughable cartoons of a bygone era.”|
|Hollywood Reporter||David Rooney||“The integration of book scenes and musical numbers is clunky in the extreme.”|
|Chicago Tribune||Chris Jones||“A show of such total ineptitude and cynical profiteering that your mouth pretty much dangles open in disbelief for the duration of the entire tawdry proceedings.”|
|New York Magazine||Scott Brown||“There’s a remarkable story here, but you’d be forgiven for missing it: The writers certainly have.”|