A Sneak Preview of Broadway’s BABY IT’S YOU!
Baby It’s You!, the original Broadway musical, received a Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. Beth Leavel who plays Florence Greenberg, creator of The Shirelles, told Broadway.com “My agents called [me] at 8:32a.m. and it’s been a whirlwind since. I was hoping that Baby It’s You! would be represented in some way during the Tony season.” Leavel has been previously nominated for her performances in The Drowsy Chaperone, Mamma Mia!, and Elf.
The musical is the true story of Florence Greenberg, a Jewish housewife from New Jersey, who teams with black songwriter and producer Luther Dixon creating one of the greatest girl groups of all time The Shirelles. The Shirelles “were the first major female vocal group of the rock and roll era, preceding Motown as a crossover phenomenon with white audiences,” according to their wiki page. The Shirelles top hits include Soldier Boy, Baby It’s You, Dedicated to the One I Love, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Foolish Little Girl, and Mama Said. When Greenberg signed the 60s pop group she started the independent record label Scepter Records, becoming the music industry’s first female powerhouse. Her label featured such iconic artists as The Isley Brothers, The Kingsmen, Chuck Jackson and Dionne Warwick. Warwick subbed for Shirelles members Shirley Alston Reeves and Doris Jackson when they took a leave of absence to get married.
The Shirelles – Will You Love Me Tomorrow (Live, 1964)
Baby It’s You! opened at the Broadhurst Theatre and is directed by Sheldon Epps, most known for directing TV shows Smart Guy, Sister, Sister, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, Girlfriends, and George Lopez. Starring alongside Beth Leavel as The Shirelles are Christina Sajous, Erica Ash, Kyra DaCosta, and Crystal Starr Knighton. Universal Music Group and Warner Bros. Theater Ventures are the show’s producers. Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott, the dynamite team behind Broadway’s Million Dollar Quartet, created the musical which features pop and rock ‘n’ roll classics such as “Dedicated To The One I Love,” “Duke Of Earl,” “He’s So Fine,” “It’s My Party,” “Louie Louie,” “Mama Said,” “Shout,” “Sixteen Candles,” “Twist and Shout” and many more!
It’s not surprising Leavel received a Tony nomination. The New York Observer said “the performances are fantastic, sometimes heartbreakingly beautiful, and the acting is topnotch.”
Dionne Warwick, Beverly Lee, and Chuck Jackson are the surviving members of The Shirelles. Recently, Warwick appeared on Celebrity Apprentice and uttered the famous phrase “You’re a coward,” to Nene Leakes storming off the show. Now Warwick is suing the producers of Baby It’s You!.
According to the Associated Press producers of Baby It’s You! face a lawsuit by Warwick, Chuck Jackson, Beverly Lee of The Shirelles who allege that the show uses their names and likenesses without their permission. “The lawsuit also includes two now-dead members of The Shirelles — Doris Coley Jackson and Addie Harris Jackson. The filing in New York State Supreme Court seeks unspecified damages.”
“They did get taken advantage of, and now they have to watch and live through it a second time,” said Warwick’s lawyer Oren Warshavsky. “It’s terribly disappointing to see it happen again.”
Celebrity Apprentice: Dionne Warwick Board Room Fight
Celebrity Apprentice: Dionne Warwick