Authors in theatre enjoy privileges and approval rights not held by their screenwriting brethren. Sometimes, this can lead to trouble for producers and playwrights alike.
A recent article at The Guardian asks: “Should a playwright have the final say over a production?. The piece reports on an issue that arose recently when a disgruntled Australian playwright made a very strong statement against a production of his play.
On the opening night of Lachlan Philpott's new play, “Alienation”, the author removed his name from the production, and placed a note on each seat in the theatre declaring, “this production does not reflect my original scripted or communicated intentions as the playwright.”
The producers, the Perth Theatre Company later refuted this in their own statement, essentially calling Philpott's statements “inaccurate and unwarranted”.
But the incident has spurred some in the theatre to reexamine the power and authority of the playwright, and to question whether changes are needed. (if they're possible at all).
Authors' rights in Theatre are far more expansive than in film, television, etc.
Historically, the playwright (or the bookwriter, composer and lyricist of a Musical) has/have been given great deference when it comes to creative matters relating to their work. Under most production contracts, in fact, the author is given a right of approval that is very nearly absolute.