The Theatre Lawyer™

The Theatre Lawyer™

What does a theatre lawyer do?

The production of plays and musicals involves a host of complex relationships, rights, legal obligations and sometimes conflicting expectations. Unless such matters are carefully managed, defined and memorialized in writing from the very start trouble is likely to find the project. That is our aim: to help creative and business people in theatre manage their relationships by keeping communications open and deals well documented.

When engaged as your theatrical production counsel, we :

  1. Advise, counsel and assist the producer with the legal requirements for raising funds for theatrical productions, rules and regulations regarding the raising and spending of Front Money, federal and state reporting, and dealings with potential investors.
  2. Advise, counsel and assist the producer in proposing terms and preparing agreements with authors to secure the option to produce the play within an agreed-upon time-frame. This, of course, includes rights to any developmental, try-out, out-of-town, or workshop productions, plus rights to produce subsequent productions and participate in profits generated by the exploitation of subsidiary rights in the play.
  3. Assist with agreements with the holders of any additional copyrights or intellectual property required for the presentation of the play (including, for example, underlying rights and additional music rights).
  4. Assist and advise the producer with selecting and forming the legal entity or entities necessary to finance, and produce the production.
  5. Prepare all government required documents related to theatrical syndications.
  6. Draft the Operating Agreement, Private Placement Memorandum and Subscription Agreement for investors in the production.
  7. Advise the producer regarding deals with co-producers and associate producers and prepare any co-production agreements.
  8. Advise, counsel and assist the producer concerning the selection of and agreements with the general manager.
  9. Advise and counsel the General Manager regarding contracts to be entered into by the production, including theatrical venue agreements, union requirements, and engagement of creative personnel and consultants.
  10. Advise and counsel producer with respect to the theatrical business generally, and in regard to all elements of the production of the play.

Our Theatre Law Services include:

  • Talent Representation
  • Rights Acquisition, Development
  • Counseling and representing producers, playwrights, actors, directors and designers
  • Structuring financing and production entities
  • Front Money Deals
  • Investor Agreements and Private Placement Memoranda
  • Production Agreements
  • Co-Production Agreements
  • Enhancement  Money deals
  • Production services, including cast and crew, facilities, and rights deals
  • Booking, Touring and Presentation agreements
  • NonProfit organizations – Formations, Bylaws, Minutes, and operational documentation.
  • Licenses & Permits
  • Rights Audits

Posts about Theatre Law

Is Equity Crowdfunding a game changer?

Equity Crowdfunding is finally a reality. Almost. In a long-awaited move, on October 30, 2015 the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) finally adopted a set of rules mandated by the 2012 JOBS act. These rules are designed to facilitate small businesses with capital formation through the use of a crowdfunding approach to sell securities. The rules… Continue Reading

Transitioning from Kickstarting to Company Starting

The differences between contribution crowdfunding and equity funding Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been enormously successful in popularizing the new trend in fundraising, crowdfunding. As of the writing of this post, Kickstarter boasts nearly 11 million pledges on over 100,000 different projects. For those looking to create an independent film, theater production, video game,… Continue Reading

Entertainment Industry Insights Podcast #004: Nat Mundel

Entertainment Industry Insights Podcast #004: Nat Mundel

 Entertainment Industry Insights Podcast Episode 4:  Nat Mundel In this episode of Entertainment Industry Insights, I speak with Nat Mundel, Founder of Voyage Media, and Co-Founder of TODpix.Mr. Mundel’s vision is to streamline and democratize the entertainment industry by creating new business models, services and tools that help filmmakers more effectively develop, produce and distribute their… Continue Reading

Seeking investors for your film project?  Things just got a little easier (almost).

Seeking investors for your film project? Things just got a little easier (almost).

SEC Adopts Rules implementing [some] provisions of the JOBS Act of 2012 If you’re planning to finance your film, play, musical or other project by seeking investors, things may have just gotten a little bit easier for you. A few days ago, on July 10th, the Securities Exchange Commission finally took a long-awaited step toward… Continue Reading

4 reasons why receiving Producer Credit may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

4 reasons why receiving Producer Credit may not be all it’s cracked up to be. It’s a common practice in the entertainment industry. Producers operating on shoestring budgets will, in an effort to secure the property and/or services of talented individuals, ofer them some kind of producer credit in lieu of the usual compensation those… Continue Reading

Entertainment Industry Insights Podcast: Ken Davenport

 Entertainment Industry Insights Podcast Episode 3:  Ken Davenport    In this episode of Entertainment Industry Insights, I speak with Broadway Producer  Ken Davenport. Ken Davenport is a Broadway producer whose credits include Macbeth, Kinky Boots, Godspell, Chinglish, Oleanna starring Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles, Speed-the-Plow, Will Ferrell’s You’re Welcome America, Blithe Spirit starring Angela Lansbury,… Continue Reading

Jersey Boys’ use of Ed Sullivan Clip is fair use

Jersey Boys’ use of Ed Sullivan Clip is fair use Last week, in an interesting (and rare) theatre law case,  the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s judgment in favor of the company producing the Broadway hit musical  Jersey Boys.  SOFA Entertainment, Inc., owner of the Ed Sullivan Show footage had sued… Continue Reading

The Royalty Pool

What is the Royalty Pool? Correction:  ( a typographic error in the mathematics has been corrected below since the original publication of this article) One of the most confusing terms in theatrical production agreements is the discussion of the “Royalty Pool”. This provision in most Broadway and Off-Broadway production contracts, and increasingly in other commercial… Continue Reading

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