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Ronnie James Dio’s Label Shuts Down Melbourne Metal Musical

Written by Nastassia Baroni on February 2, 2015

Licensing issues and legal threats have forced the cancellation of The Legend of Dio: A Metal Musical – a new production based entirely around the music of late metal legend Ronnie James Dio that was scheduled to premiere in Melbourne this March.

“Sound Chaser Productions regrets to announce that, due to licensing issues, The Legend of Dio – A Metal Musical will no longer be going ahead,” reads a statement from promotors Sound Chaser Productions.

The cancellation follows the issue of a cease and desist from US company Niji Entertainment Group, a label started by Ronnie James Dio and his wife Wendy Gaxiola, who was also his manager, in early 2010.

When news of the musical’s premiere spread internationally, Niji Entertainment were quick to distance themselves from the production and made it clear that legal action would be taken.

“We want to set the record straight! Niji Productions has nothing to do with ‘The Legend of Dio: A Metal Musical’ that has been advertised. This came as a shock to us as it did to most of you too,” the company wrote in a Facebook post. “Our legal team has sent a cease and desist to the company in Australia that is infringing on the copyright of Ronnie James Dio’s songs, likeness and trademarked logo.”

The threat of legal action from the US company seems to have worked, with Sound Chaser Productions not only cancelling the show but also issuing an apology to Niji. “We apologise to Niji Entertainment Group and express our desire to work with them in future,” they wrote. “Dio fans are encouraged to keep enjoying Ronnie James Dio’s wonderful music and maintain their respect for Niji Entertainment and Dio’s legacy. Long Live Rock’n’Roll!”

Described as “equal parts Tenacious D, Rock of Ages and Shakespeare”, the fictional comedy was written and directed by, William James Smith from Melbourne outfit H.M.A.S Vendetta, who was also to play the role of Dio.

The musical was set to feature the songs of Dio, Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Heaven & Hell, and was to star Melbourne metal band Barbariön. Kat Stargazer from Melbourne power metal band Horizons Edge was to play Wendy Gaxiola. It was to make its world premiere in Australia this March.

Music Feeds has contacted Sound Chaser Productions for comment.

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