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'Anastasia' allegedly brought storyline back from the dead

'Anastasia' allegedly brought storyline back from the dead

Fact: During the Russia Revolution, Tsar Nicholas II was killed by revolutionaries along with his wife and a few of his children. (Nothing to sing about. Or is there?)

What’s up for debate is whether the playwright Terrence McNally, of Broadway musical “Anastasia” fame, stole his storyline from that of deceased French playwright Marcelle Maurette.

A federal judge on Monday rejected the argument that the modern playwright’s work and the 1940s play aren't similar, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Jean-Etienne de Becdelievre, heir of Maurette, in 2016 sued Mr. McNally and Anastasia Musical L.L.C., claiming the Broadway show infringes on the older copyrighted tale of a young woman who claims to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov, the daughter of the infamous Russian tsar. While some of the play is loosely based on history, the French playwright’s heir argued “much of the dialogue, characters and plot are fictional,” according to the Reporter.

The heir claims the play was licensed to 20th Century Fox for a 1956 film and a 1997 animated feature, but that he retained all rights in live stage performances. Meanwhile, Mr. McNally moved for summary judgment, arguing the play and the musical aren't substantially similar.

The judge denied the motion, agreeing that there are "significant commonalities not traced to any documented historical record," according to The Hollywood Reporter. 






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