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Broadway's HAND TO GOD Wins Lawsuit Over Abbott & Costello's 'Who's on First?'

HAND TO GOD can now celebrate a legal victory over the holiday season.

As reported back in June, Abbott & Costello's estate sued Broadway's HAND TO GOD because of its use of their classic "Who's on First?" sketch.

Today, the Associated Press writes that Federal Judge George Daniels has tossed out the lawsuit, "saying the play transforms the original routine enough that it does not violate copyrights."

The lawsuit followed cease-and-desist requests served to the HAND TO GOD team after the show's April opening. The federal suit claimed copyright infringement against playwright Robert Askins, as well as the production's producers and promoters.

The five-time Tony-nominated play's lead producer Kevin McCollum originally reacted to the lawsuit by calling it "nothing more than a stunt" and saying, "Frankly, we welcome the attention."

Askins' comedy HAND TO GOD opened to rave reviews on April 7, 2015 at Broadway's Booth Theatre (222 West 45th Street), and was previously presented in New York City at Ensemble Studio Theatre in 2011 and Off-Broadway by MCC Theater in 2013. It will transfer to London this winter. Moritz von Stuelpnagel directs a cast featuring comedy and television icon Bob Saget alongside Steven Boyer, Geneva Carr, Sarah Stiles, and Michael Oberholtzer.

HAND TO GOD received five 2015 Tony Award nominations including Best Play, Direction of a Play (Moritz von Stuelpnagel), Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (Steven Boyer), Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (Geneva Carr), and Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Sarah Stiles).

Playwright Robert Askins goes for the jugular-by way of sock puppet-in his hilarious and heartbreaking new comedy HAND TO GOD. In it, a shy teenager named Jason is surprised when his Bible School project-a puppet named Tyrone-takes on a shocking, truth-telling personality all its own, forcing everyone in its path, especially Jason's mother Margery, to confront their own demons as they search for redemption through a mix of riotous laughter and genuinely shocking twists.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

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From This Author - Jessica Khan

A Midwest native and Louisville-based journalist, Jessica is a long-time believer in the collaborative power of the performing arts. She has worked as a News Desk Editor for BroadwayWorld since 201... (read more about this author)