Belushi widow gives no lovin’ to Blues Brothers tribute
By Mike Thomas Staff Reportermthomas@suntimes.com February 16, 2011 11:44AM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
An unauthorized Blues Brothers tribute show on the way to Chicago has run afoul of John Belushi’s widow.
Set to storm the Auditorium Theatre July 6-24, “The All New Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers” premiered at an English pub in 1991 before graduating to London’s West End and beyond.
Although Judy Belushi Pisano was aware of the show, she said British laws made it tough to take action against it. She and her late husband’s musical partner, Dan Aykroyd, jointly own the rights to the Jake and Elwood Blues characters, and over the years they’ve attempted to curb the many ripoffs.
Even in America, she said, it’s been difficult to catch fly-by-night operations before they blow town.
“It’s like having a bunch of flies around your food,” Pisano said. “It’s hard to keep up with.”
And prosecuting is expensive. Pursuing some recent offenders, she said, ran $60,000.
“I think it’s early enough and it appears they’ve only begun advertising, so that’s good,” Pisano said of this latest homage to capitalize on the “Blues Brothers” phenomenon.
But the new production’s North American agent, Margaret Selby, said it’s breaking no trademark, copyright or other laws.
It’s a tribute, Selby said, just like numerous others about Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and Elvis Presley. “Tribute shows are allowed to do this,” she said.