Jim Jacobs, who co-wrote the musical Grease with the late Warren Casey, has filed a $100 million class-action lawsuit against cruise lines that he claims have performed the show without permission or paying royalties.
Jacobs filed the lawsuit in Manhattan on Jan. 25, according to the New York Post. The suit accuses 17 cruise lines of violating U.S. and international copyright laws and calls for them to desist from producing unlicensed material by Jacobs and other writers. It does not name the other productions or their authors.
"They're doing productions not approved by the authors, changing it in ways the authors would never permit, and then they don't pay," said Ron Taft, Jacobs' attorney, in an interview with the Post. "A high school teacher knows better."
Royal Caribbean Cruises and Carnival Corp. own many of the cruise lines accused in the suit, according to the Post article, which added that Jacobs claims Celebrity Cruises has presented 356 performances of Grease "without securing the necessary licenses or permissions."
Grease is scheduled to return to Broadway next year, the Post said. Taft did not return a call from Back Stage by press time.
-- Roger Armbrust