Prince’s estate have criticised plans for a Purple Rain stage show, calling it “a blatant attempt to deceive fans”.
The British production was announced last week by Gary Lloyd, who directed the West End production of the Michael Jackson musical Thriller Live.
Billed as “a live music and dance celebration of Prince,” it will feature hits like Kiss, Purple Rain and Little Red Corvette, played by a live band.
But Prince’s estate said it had not authorised the show.
The producers of Purple Rain said there was no intention to deceive anyone.
‘Weighing legal options’
“Neither Prince’s family or the estate have given permission to use his name, likeness, or music catalogue for this event,” Troy Carter, entertainment adviser to the estate, told the BBC in a statement.
“This is a blatant attempt to deceive fans into thinking they’re seeing a Purple Rain musical on the West End, when it’s only a cover band playing Prince’s songs.
“We’re currently weighing our legal options and look forward to bringing the real Purple Rain to the stage in the near future.”
Purple Rain On Stage was conceived as a tribute to the star, who died suddenly last April following an overdose of painkillers.
It’s being produced by Adam Spiegel and Mark Goucher with Claire-Bridget Kenwright, who said: “We have long been fans of Prince and his music and are excited to be able to bring it to audiences throughout the UK in 2018.
“There is no intention to deceive fans. The production will be a live music and dance celebration of an iconic artist’s work.”
When he announced the production, which will tour the UK next year, Gary Lloyd said it was his “dream” to bring Prince’s music to the stage.
“Prince was a consummate, theatrical artist, but in our show his music is the star,” he said in a press release.
“There will be so much for audiences to enjoy whether they’re fans of musical theatre, Prince, or both. Purple Rain is a fast-paced, music lover’s night out that will tease, surprise and excite audiences in the same way he did.”
The tour is due to commence in Bromley’s Churchill Theatre on 1 February, 2018 with other venues including the Manchester Opera House, the Edinburgh Playhouse and Belfast’s Grand Opera House.
Promotional material for the show said these dates would be followed by a West End run.
In his lifetime, Prince – who would have turned 59 on 7 June – was fiercely protective of his copyright, going to war with his record label over the ownership of his music, and keeping his biggest hits off major streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.
However, it is perfectly legitimate for a show to feature cover versions of his hits without seeking permission, as long as the rights holders receive performance royalties.
Several Prince tribute acts perform regularly in the UK while the star’s former band The Revolution are currently touring the US with a set based on the hits they recorded together.