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Lawsuit Over 'Karaoke' Oz Sets Precedent???

By • West End
Musicals with backing tracks beware: falling out of sync may cost you more than just an encore. This week a judge ruled in favour of a theatregoer suing Pele Productions for its revival of The Wizard of Oz, citing that, under the Trades Descriptions Act, the posters for the show were misleading to customers.

The show, which starred Lorna Luft at The Lowry in Manchester last Christmas (See News, 5 Jun 2008), was advertised with the slogan: “Follow the Yellow Brick Road to The Lowry this Christmas for the most magical family musical of them all.” The plaintiff, Adrian Bradbury, said that it the use of the term ‘musical’ was misleading as singers were not accompanied by a live orchestra and all the songs were sung over a pre-recorded backing tape.

“Karaoke is fine in your local pub, but I would never pay to see it,” he said. According to Bradbury, the worst moment came when the performers were tap-dancing — with the recorded sound of the taps on the tape and those on the stage were clearly out of time.

Bradbury attended the production with his twin brother, their wives and seven children. “We thought we were treating our children to the wonders of musical theatre for the first time, but we were left disappointed,” he said. John Harper, The Lowry’s marketing director, said Bradbury was the only person to complain about the lack of live music out of the 133,000 people who had seen the show.

Bradbury was awarded the full £134.50 cost of the theatre tickets and the £50 of legal expenses at the Manchester County Court on Monday.


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