ABBA members settle dispute with playwright

Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:52pm EDT
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, the two male members of pop quartet ABBA, have settled a long-running legal dispute with a Swedish playwright over credits for a musical that was once Broadway-bound.

In a joint statement on Monday, Andersson, Ulvaeus and playwright Carl-Johan Seth said they would end a legal wrangle over who received credit as author of the musical "Kristina from Duvemala," a story about a 19th-century poor Swedish family.

The musical debuted in Swedish city Malmo in 1995, but before it was due to open in Stockholm a few years later the three began to fight over who received credit for the story.

The ABBA members believed it should go to the play's director, a lawyer for Seth said. As plans were being formed to take the musical to Broadway, it became clear the issue needed to be resolved. At that point, Andersson and Ulvaeus sued Seth in a Stockholm district court, he said.

A court ruled in their favor but Seth appealed. That appeal has now been withdrawn as part of the agreement, although Seth's lawyer, Steffan Michelson, said he could not give any details about the settlement.

"We are glad that we have agreed and that we can continue to be friends," the statement from the three artists said.

Michelson said his client was satisfied and that credits for the story would be made clear when the musical was next performed. He said there were plans for a new performance but he could not say more.

Andersson and Ulvaeus, after their success with ABBA during the 1970s, went on pursue a stage career. Their most famous musical, "Mamma Mia!" features many ABBA songs and has been performed around the world. Its Web site says more than 30 million people have seen it.

(Reporting by Adam Cox; Editing by Elizabeth Piper)

<p>Two of the original four members of the Swedish pop group Abba, Benny Anderson (L) and Bjorn Ulvaeus (R) stand with an unidentified cast member as they attend an event to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the musical Mamma Mia at the Prince Edward Theatre in London April 6, 2004. REUTERS/Paul Hackett</p>