How-to: Musical Rentals and Performance Permission
Stanton’s Sheet Music receives many inquiries from customers who “just got put in charge of the school musical” and want to know where to start. Although MANY choral/band directors and drama teachers are also expected to direct musicals, it seems that most college courses skip right over this topic. One of your first steps will be to decide upon the musical you’d like to stage. While Stanton’s does sell Broadway vocal collections, choral/band arrangements and other musical theater products including most Broadway Junior productions, we CANNOT contract the licensing rights that give you legal permission to perform the work—for that you must contact the appropriate licensing company. Some of the largest licensing companies are:
Musical Theater International
Since its founding in 1952, MTI has been supplying musical materials to theatres worldwide, whether it is the newest hit from the Broadway or London stage, or a timeless classic. MTI has been a driving force in cultivating new work and in extending the production life of the great American musicals such as Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Fiddler On The Roof, Les Misérables, Annie, Damn Yankees, The Music Man, Godspell, Little Shop Of Horrors, and the musical theatre collection of Stephen Sondheim, among others.
Rogers and Hammerstein Organization
Founded by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II more than 60 years ago, the R&H Organization represents a wide variety of entertainment copyrights and over 200 writers. In addition to Rodger & Hammerstein classics like The Sound of Music, Oklahoma!, The King and I, and South Pacific, they also offer a range of popular musicals including Annie Get Your Gun, The Light in the Piazza, Babes in Arms, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc
Tams-Witmark licensed the first high school production of a Broadway musical approximately 75 years ago. Today, thousands of schools and community theatres are presenting Tams-Witmark musicals each year, including A Chorus Line, Anything Goes, Bye Bye Birdie, The Wizard of Oz, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Oliver, Hello Dolly, My Fair Lady, Cabaret, Crazy for You, Forty-Second Street, Camelot, Kiss Me Kate, Gypsy and Brigadoon.
With offices in New York City, London, Hollywood and Studio City, California, Samuel French has been representing playwrights since 1830. They began hosting the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Play Festival in 1975 which has resulted in the publishing of 181 new plays since. Some of their most popular offerings are: Anne of Green Gables, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Chicago, Clue: The Musical, Grease, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Mikado, Nunsense, Peter Pan, The Rocky Horror Show, and The Secret Garden.
All of these reputable companies offer script preview programs (similar to Stanton’s 21-Day Trial) and helpful websites to guide you through musical licensing procedures. Several variables determine how much money the performance rights will cost, and the only way to get a quote is to begin a dialogue with a licensing company. Stanton’s advises you to begin this process as far in advance as possible so that you have plenty of time to research and choose the best show for your particular situation.
Now all you have to do is cast the show, run rehearsals, build sets, sew/rent costumes, book a pit, and print programs. Simple, right?