There are some rules about play production — breaking them can result in getting your show shut down.
Our friend and entertainment lawyer Gordon Firemark recently published this blog post on how producers can make sure they don’t get their show shut down. Gordon’s insights sparked a conversation between the Geeks. Authors and play publishers set down a lot of rules about how you’re supposed to produce their plays. Rules can be both artistic and pertain to the marketing of your production, and you ignore them at your company’s peril. And while most requirements are pretty standard, there can be special cases and variations depending on the author and/or publisher.
Want to do a musical but you prefer the song from the movie that replaced the one in the original production? Careful! You’re definitely not allowed to do this unless you make special arrangements, which may be difficult to get. So, what do to? Ok, maybe you just cut the song, right? WRONG. Mostly, theatre companies are obligated to produce plays and musicals as written. This is not just some temperamental author being a prima donna. Authors have a right NOT to have their work tampered with. If a theatre company does damage to a work it is still attributed to the author, most audience members may hate the play not realizing the author didn’t write it that way. If you can’t get permission for changes, you don’t make them. Or you find another play that you like better. Simple as that.
The Geeks delve deeper into this issue, so listen in.
Article: How to make sure your production doesn’t get shut down, by Gordon Firemark.
Music for Theatre Geeks provided by Music Alley.