CALL US! (310) 421-9970

Tag Archives: play

How to make sure your production doesn’t get shut down.

How to make sure your production doesn’t get shut down.

How to make sure your production doesn't get shut down.

In the past few months, the news has carried several stories about plays and musicals being “shut down” by authors. In this post, I'll explain why, and also how savvy producers can avoid a similar fate for their productions.

Shows ordered to close by authors

In June, at least two productions were forced to close right after opening. A produxtion of David Mamet's “Oleana”,at Milwaukee's Alchemist theatre was shut down after the author and his representatives learned that a lead female role was being played by a man. And, a much anticipated production of “Hands on a Hardbody” at Theatre Under the Stars in Texas found itself shut down abruptly after one of the authors attended a performance and discovered that the order of scenes and songs had been changed by the production's director. But this isn't a brand new phenomenon. In 2009, I wrote about a situation in which Stephen Sondheim ordered an Australian production of “Company” closed unless the unauthorized “cuts” were restored. And last year, I wrote this blog post on the subject. In cases like this, producers risk total loss of their investments in the productions. The sad fact is, it's all easily avoided.

Continue Reading

Jury makes a point (break), awards $250,000 to playwright

Last week (December 20, 2012), a jury awarded a playwright $250,000 in a case concerning her parody of the 1991 film “point break”

The film, starred Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, and Gary Busey in a story about FBI Agent Johnny Utah's infiltration of a team of surfing bank robbers.

In 2003, playwright Jamie Keeling came up with the idea to adapt the film for the stage but to “cast” the Johnny Utah character from the audience each night, having the selected patron recite lines from cue cards. But, when the show's producer New Rock Theatre Productions stopped paying Keeling royalties, the playwright sued.

New Rock's main defense, it seems, stems from the argument that the play, based almost entirely on the movie script, wasn't original and therefore not entitled to copyright protection.

But, last week, a Federal Court jury in New York City disagreed, awarding Keeling a cool quarter of a million dollars in damages. The judge and jury, it seems, believed the show to be a copyrightable parody, mocking the entire original, together with Reeves' performance.

Now, Ms. Keeling is seeking an injunction to permanently enjoin New Rock from infringing her work in the future.

Find us on Google+