Theater actress sues over Green Day musical promo

Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:12pm EDT
 
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By Eriq Gardner

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Producers of "American Idiot," the anti-establishment Broadway adaptation of a Green Day album, have been sued by a former cast member who isn't happy about the way she's been exploited.

Morgan Weed, who served as an understudy for the lead female role of "Whatshername," claims in a new lawsuit that the production company filmed her performing in rehearsals without consent and used the footage to promote the show on television, in print and online.

Paradoxically, "American Idiot" is a song about an individual rebelling against the propaganda of a media-saturated society. Weed's lawsuit alleges that producers misappropriated her identity and likeness and caused her emotional distress by blasting her image in its promo campaign.

Weed performed the role when the show was in its gestation phase at the Berkeley Repertory Theater in the Bay Area. That's where she was filmed. By the time the show got to Broadway, Weed was no longer part of the cast.

Nevertheless, Weed says producers continued to use footage of her, including her singing a version of Green Day's power ballad "21 Guns" at the band's studio, despite never requesting permission for future use of her image. She says the efforts were "extreme and outrageous" and caused her severe mental anguish, manifested by headaches, sleeplessness, anxiety and stress.

Weed is demanding compensatory and punitive damages and says she's entitled to some of the show's profits for damaging her reputation and jeopardizing future projects.