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Licensing Your Musical

Want to collect royalties for performances of your new musical? You need a musical publisher that will serve as a licensing agent (unless you want to do limited private licensing). On this page you'll find submissions information for musical and play publishers who license shows.

Get Your Show Published for Licensing

Major companies that acquire the licensing rights to high profile shows include Music Theatre International, Samuel French, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Tams-Witmark, Josef Weinberger LTC (London), and others. They normally only consider shows that have had first class professional productions on Broadway or something similar and are not open to submissions by unagented writers.

Other companies allow submissions from writers whose shows have not been on Broadway or in a major production. Below is information about these companies: Dramatic Publishing, Dramatists Play Service, StageRights LTD (Steele Spring Stage Rights), Theatrical Rights Worldwide, Drama Source, Eldridge Plays and Musicals, Heartland Plays Inc., Pioneer Drama Service, YouthPlay, and others.

ONLY SUBMIT YOUR NEW MUSICAL if it already has a production history with reviews. Be sure your demo has high quality singing and your presentation package is polished and professional. You'll still need to help market your show, ideally with a website that has music clips and notices.

LIST OF LICENSING COMPANIES OPEN TO SUBMISSIONS

Largest or Most Well-Known

Dramatists Play Service, Inc. generally acquires plays after successful productions in New York City, London or at a major regional theatre. "If your show has not yet been produced in a notable venue, you might be better served to put your time and energy into pursuing a production." Email your inquiry with a one-page synopsis, a production history, and full reviews (not pull quotes) to the assistant to the president. Do not send a script or other materials. All inquiries must be submitted electronically. See Dramatists.com contact page.

Dramatic Publishing accepts submissions for new musicals. Their extensive catalog of dramatic works is popular for use by high-schools, children's theatres, professional and community theatres. They accept shows of every cast size, skill level and audience. Visit their website for clear guidelines on how to submit your musical. Dramatic Publishing

StageRights LTD (Steele Spring Stage Rights) licenses musicals and plays to commercial producers, regional theaters, community theaters and educational theaters across the country and around the world. Authors retain all copyright ownership. They do not accept unproduced musicals, but new works with some track record can be submitted. "We prefer full-length pieces suitable for professional, educational and amateur venues." Go to their About Us page and look for the submissions guidelines link. Stagerights.com

Theatrical Rights Worldwide has a significant catalog and they do accept new submissions. Theatrical Rights Worldwide - FAQ page "If you feel your musical is ready for production, please send a hard copy of your script, hard copy samples of your music (for example: piano-vocal music), and an audio CD, as well as any production history (regional theatre, new work festival, or educational environment)..."

Others:

Drama Source. As they say on their home page, "We Specialize In G-Rated, Family-Friendly Plays & Musicals." They prefer to receive submissions in August refer to receive them in August since their main reading time is September 1 - October 31. Drama Source Submissions Guidelines

Eldridge Plays and Musicals: Eldridge has been publishing plays since 1906. Their catalog includes full-length plays, one-acts, melodramas, holiday and religious plays, children's theatre works. They accept musicals suitable for performance by community theatres and junior and senior high schools. No explicit adult content or graphically defined situations. They note "Generally speaking, our customers like plays with more female than male roles or flexible casting in which roles can be played by either men or women. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, however." You can find a list of their playwrights and a link for submissions details here: Eldridge at Histage.com

Heartland Plays Inc. publishes online a wide variety of plays and drama products including, but not limited to, full-length comedies and dramas, one-acts, short play collections, and musicals. "We strive to find plays that have the quality and diversity to meet the needs and interests of most theatres and producing organizations; Professional, Community, Summer Stock, College, High School, and Theatre for Children and Youth." They publish

Visit Heartlandplays.com/submissions/

Leicester Bay Theatricals accepts submissions for new musicals that have at least had one production/staged reading. Here are details provided by the company: The musicals will be marketed to commercial, regional, college/university, and community producers, along with high schools and middle schools/junior highs as well as to youth and children's theatres. No limits on cast sizes or length of show, but most of our shows offer flexible casting opportunities. We are interested in shows with all types of holiday themes. No shows with a pre-existing catalog of songs will be accepted, unless those songs are from the public domain and free of copyright restrictions. Submission guidelines can be found on the website www.leicesterbaytheatricals.com. The site also lists the requirements for the Query letter prior to full submission. Authors retain all copyright.

Pioneer Drama Service licenses over 200 short musicals to schools, churches, and other groups. They accept unsolicited submissions for ensemble-oriented shows that have a running time between 20 and 90 minutes. Submissions must be family friendly in both subject and language. They profer casts that are balanced or favoring females (or gender neutral). They should have vocal ranges specifically written for amateur voices. See Pioneer Drama Service submission guidelines.

YouthPlay is especially interested in the following: One-act or full-length plays and musicals for young actors (teens or younger), especially one-acts for competition that run 30-35 minutes. We particularly need one-act (and full-length) comedies for high school and middle school performers with large or flexible casts and lots of female roles, as well as mysteries and/or murder mysteries for that age group. YouthPlays - submissions info page.

AGENTED SUBMISSIONS ONLY

Daryl Roth Licensing is boutique agency that represents a select group of writers and properties for productions and tours. They do not take unsolicited submissions but on their FAQ page they state that you can invite one of their representatives to your presentation or production. See Daryl Roth Licensing FAQs

Playscripts is an innovative New York City-based publisher that publishes and licenses a diverse range of plays and musicals to a world-wide audience. They license amateur and professional productions. Their materials include printed and eScripts of shows written by over 2000 playwrights. They only accept submissions through agents and literary managers, so if you're working with a theater company that has a literary manager, you could ask them to submit your script. Playscripts.com

Other Licensing Options

Self Publishing a Musical or Licensing through an Agency

Some playwrights and musical writers prefer to self publish and license their own work or have their agent manage the direct rights. If you have entrepreneurial inclinations that include an interest in marketing, you can make this work.

The Dramatist Guild provides some information on self publishing Info on Self Publishing of Scripts and Music. This includes comments on preparing consumer-ready files of your music and online companies that sell sheet music.

Here is an examples of an agency that licenses their client's work: Bret Adams LTD - Represents playwrights, composers, lyricists, and others with full services including licensing.

Doollee website includes a list of agents who represent artists in one way or another. Doolee.com - literary agents

Song Licensing

It's also possible to licensing individual songs. See the article Song Licensing for tips.

To send suggestions, comments, or questions write to carol@musicalschwartz.com

 

David Spencer's essential guide to writing musicals.


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