A play about Amy Winehouse due to premiere in the Danish capital of Copenhagen in January has been cancelled after her estate blocked the use of her music and image in the show.
Danish copyright agency Koda had previously granted permission for the play to open at the city’s Royal Danish Theatre on 30 Jan, but has had to withdraw that permission at the estate’s request. Koda’s Nicolaj Hylten-Cavallius told the Associated Press: “We acted in good faith when we gave them the permission for the performance. We believed that the format, a theatre play, was okay. It is Amy Winehouse’s father who has thrown a spanner in the works. We were told by her father and the lawyers around him that we can forget all about the rights for the music, the photos, branding and everything”.
He added that the singer’s father had given no reason for the decision, though when the play was first announced earlier this year, Winehouse Senior told Yahoo: “It doesn’t matter to them whether it’s too soon, they’re only interested in making money and nothing else bothers them. We can’t do anything about it if they do want to go ahead, but I think it will be a load of rubbish. It will be like any of these unauthorised biographies that are made about her – they can’t use the songs so it won’t be worth seeing”.
The Royal Danish Theatre’s Artistic Director Emmet Feigenberg responded at the time: “The Royal Danish Theatre is an entirely non-profit institution, and the truth is that we will spend [all the] money [we make] on the production. Ticket prices will be as low as possible and ‘Amy’ will be performing approximately thirteen times on one of our smallest stages in a small scale and intimate production. It is fair to say, that the performance won’t be any cash cow”.
Still, without all that work to do in the run up to the show’s opening, Feigenberg and the other people behind the show will now have time to come over to London to take a look at a portrait of Amy Winehouse by Dutch painter Marlene Dumas, which went on display in the National Portrait Gallery on Monday.
Painted shortly after her death in 2011 and titled ‘Amy-Blue’, Mitch Winehouse was a lot more positive about this artistic tribute, telling The Guardian: “It is a fantastic piece of work and we are fascinated to know how Amy was seen and remembered by family, friends and artists of all kinds. With the Amy Winehouse Foundation, Amy is our inspiration and it is profoundly moving to find that she still inspires so many others too”.