I know I’m not the only one who has seen a spectacular high school remake of a Broadway show or musical. Believe it or not, that high school drama club can’t just produce a Broadway show. Those productions have to be properly licensed and paid for, and there is a process that must be followed in order to ensure that is done in the correct fashion.
The rights for most plays and musicals are held by play publishing houses. Some of the most well known publishing houses are listed below:
> Baker’s Plays
> Dramatic Publishing Co.
> Dramatists Play Service
> Eldridge Publishing
> Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization
> Miracle or 2 Productions
> Music Theatre International
> Pioneer Drama Service
> Samuel French
> Tams Witmark Music Library
> Theatrical Rights Worldwide.
Generally, in order to obtain the rights for a production owned by one of these companies, you first must determine which publishing house owns said rights. Each company has a catalog of productions which contain a royalty fee amount. Let it be noted that fee varies based upon the particular organization, the particular production, and certain factors (i.e. number of performances or ticket prices).
Quora contributor Joshua Engel shared, that he was quoted roughly $3000.00 for the licensing rights to 1776 versus paying about half that amount for a smaller musical entitled The Last Five Years.
John Kenrick compiled a helpful list of more than 500 professionally produced musicals that are currently available for amateur performances in the United States on Musicals 101. This list contains the specific publishing company that holds the production’s rights and contact information for that company to help grease the licensing wheels.
The next step is to contact the specific publishing house in order to determine whether or not the play is currently available for production. A majority of musicals on Broadway do not release performance rights to American amateurs until the close of their New York shows. This is done to prevent amateur productions from possibly costing professional productions ticket sales by running at the same time. For the same reason, if a Broadway show is revived or goes on a major national tour, amateur rights can be temporarily withdrawn or restricted.
Upon determining that a given production is available, the final step would be to contact the publishing house in writing. The following information is usually needed prior to receiving a royalty quote: Play Title, Place of Performance, Producing Organization, Seating Capacity, Ticket Prices, For-Profit or Not-For-Profit Group, Number of Performances, Performance Dates, and Equity or Non-Equity production.
Its an interesting process that can seem a bit daunting at first, but equipped with the right resources bringing a slice of Broadway to your amateur production should be a breeze. Now which one to choose…
Author: Diamond Grant