Songwriters of Bye Bye Birdie in Legal Battle Over Lyrics

News   Songwriters of Bye Bye Birdie in Legal Battle Over Lyrics Charles Strouse and Lee Adams disagree over ownership and representation.
Lee Adams and Charles Strouse
Lee Adams and Charles Strouse Aubrey Reuben

One-time songwriting partners Charles Strouse and Lee Adams reportedly are at legal loggerheads over ownership of the lyrics to their hit shows, including Bye Bye Birdie, Applause and Golden Boy, according to a report in The New York Post.

Adams, now 93, who wrote the lyrics, reportedly sold the copyrights to Strouse, 88, in stages, starting in 1979. Now claiming that the agreements have expired, Lee has launched an arbitration hearing to get the rights returned. Strouse is objecting to Lee's use of the attorney Alvin Deutsch, because he once represented them both and has a conflict of interest.

An email to Mr. Deutsch seeking clarification was not immediately returned.

The last Broadway musical for which they wrote music and lyrics together was the sequel Bring Back Birdie in 1981. Bye Bye Birdie was last revived on Broadway in 2009. Strouse has collaborated with several other lyricists, notably Martin Charnin (Annie) and Stephen Schwartz (Rags).

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