LeBlonde Blog – Chapter 3 – Obtaining the Rights

We have the rights! Yay!!!!! Legally Blonde is now officially Smalltown High School’s spring musical.

TheatreSeatsWhen we left off a week ago, Mr. D. (the director) was concerned about the complexity of the show. Remember, it’s his first show at this school with these students and in this auditorium. So piling an ambitious production on top of those uncertainties was valid reason for pause. (The auditorium is barely 2 years old – people are still figuring out how some of the equipment works!)

Since then, Mr. D has been reassured by the students and the faculty advisor (let’s call her Mrs. A) that the show can work. Yes, it has a lot of roles and set changes, and yes a word or two may need to be changed, but now Mr. D is on board with the show. Pfshew.

logo_mti_letterheadEven more exciting, after sorting out silly little snafus with account names and credit card numbers and outstanding balances, Smalltown High School was able to access its MTI account and apply for the rights to do the show. And now (drumroll, please), a real live paper contract sits in the hot little hands of Mrs. A.

All that remains is for Mrs. A to mail the “performance license” and the royalty fee to MTI, and we’ll be off and running (dancing?). I don’t know the actual royalty amount, but it’s based on the number of shows and expected attendance. The basic royalty concept is that you pay for every person’s viewing of the show. Imagine if you had to pay more to watch a Pay-Per-View event on TV if you had six people in your living room instead of three. Don’t get me wrong. The concept of artist royalties is totally fair and reasonable. But it is kind of interesting how it works when you think about it.

dollar-signWhen setting the royalty amount, MTI doesn’t care if you charge admission or not. We will definitely charge admission, because the theatre program is self-supporting. It doesn’t get any money from the regular school budget.

Which is just one of the reasons why it’s so awesome that we have the rights to Legally Blonde — The show should be a big draw which means strong ticket sales which means more money to keep the program going. Sadly, business is an important piece of any arts program. But now that we’re through the start-up paperwork, we can look toward auditions and getting creative. More on that next week.

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About S.M. Stevens

Author of "Bit Players" series of novels for teen and young adult theatre-lovers, and the Bit Players blog.
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