A couple of snippets from NPR about theatre caught my attention:
All-Female ‘Grease’ Won’t Hit Philadelphia Stage
The musical Grease is a perennial favorite at high schools and community theaters. But an alternative production won’t be performed in Philadelphia because the musical’s licensing agent has threatened to sue. The agency says the producers violated their contract by casting women in all the roles.
Good for the licensing agent. Sue their ass off if need be. It’s a violation of copyright and the playwright’s craft when some director thinks they can “improve” a play by doing alternative things like all-female casting. I have nothing against women, but Grease wasn’t written that way. Theatre companies do not own the rights to a play when they get a license to do it; they rent it. And just like you’d be in big trouble with Hertz if you rented one of their cars and turned it into a street rod, so should you be if you re-wrote the play. That’s why I belong to the Dramatists Guild. And speaking of dramatists…
Reich: Out of the Cabinet, into the Theater
Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich has written a play now making its debut on Cape Cod. In Public Exposure, the Clinton administration Democrat takes some roundhouse swings at the political right.
Everybody wants to get into the act. Well, I welcome Mr. Reich, and I wish him the best of luck with his play. I admire his perserverance and his connections in getting his play read and produced. That’s the way it goes; and that’s why I keep sending Can’t Live Without You out to anyone who will read it and try to get it staged (hint: you know who you are).