A FEW WORDS ABOUT "CUTTING"
"ADAPTING" AND PERFORMING
"SCENES FROM" PLAYS
IS A CUTTING?
defines a cutting as: a play cut to time, with scenes
in original order, with no additions, alterations, or substitutions
and without character or gender changes. We can consider
written requests for gender changes as a casting consideration
only. All cuttings require approval. We can
approve most cutting requests shortly after we receive them,
but other approvals may take much longer and may require the
playwright's approval. Because you are working with production/competition
deadlines, please send your cutting request in early. (It
can take up to eight weeks for some approvals.) Although we'll
make every effort to get your cutting approved, all of our
plays and musicals are protected by international copyright
law, which means that any alterations, deletions or substitutions
are prohibited by law except with prior written consent of
the copyright holder (usually the author). Most (but not all)
authors will allow their plays to be cut. Some playwrights
feel so strongly about the integrity of their work that they
will not approve cuts of any kind, while others will approve
a cutting for competition only, and still others are happy
to oblige almost all cutting requests. Any changes made after
your cutting is approved must also be approved.
A FEW TIPS
Remember, send your
cutting requests in early; approvals can take six to eight
weeks. When submitting a cutting request, remember that dialogue
and characters cannot be added! Changes shall not affect
the context or cultural overtones of the play or subvert the
intent. If the play is a dramatization of a screenplay or
novel, you cannot add additional characters, music or dialogue
from that screenplay or book. You must work with what is
in the play. If a play is not written as a musical, it cannot
be changed into one by the addition of "musical numbers."
Underscoring and transitional music may be added with our
approval if the music is either original, in the public domain,
licensed through the proper agency. When applicable, check
contest/festival rules, as they may be more restrictive.
WHAT IS AN ADAPTATION?
defined as "making any changes to the text of a play so that
it will conform to the requirements or circumstances or limits
of your specific production." This includes adding or deleting
characters (with the obvious exception of nonspeaking extras)
and adding, moving, reassigning and sometimes deleting dialogue.
All adaptations must be approved by the author/owner which
can be time consuming for everyone involved. If you must adapt,
send a written request detailing the changes you would like
to make at least eight weeks in advance of your production.
Writers are usually very busy and can be difficult to contact.
If we require a copy of the script with all of your proposed
changes clearly indicated, we will let you know. Though we
try to accommodate all requests, a performance license can
be issued only after we have obtained permission from the
author/owner of the play. Because of this, we strongly urge
you to choose a backup title that has been preapproved by
the competition and the publisher (a one act or an approved
excerpt) in case your request is denied or delayed beyond
WHAT ARE "SCENES FROM" A PLAY?
"Scenes From" applies
to whole, unedited excerpts from a play. These may be an act
or scene(s) from a play or all of the text from one page through
another page. The production must be billed and credited as
"Scenes from (Play) by (Playwright)" in all promotional material
generated by the producing organization. Approved cuttings
must also be billed and credited as "Scenes from (Play) by
(Playwright)" and you must comply with any special billing
or crediting requirements that are listed in the front of
With very few exceptions,
a musical may not be performed as a play without music. Therefore,
you must have written permission from our office if you wish
to cut any or all of the music from a musical, making sure
to detail the songs you wish to omit. Remember, in most cases
the songs are integral to the work and further the development
of character and plot.
We hope we've covered everything, but
please feel welcome to Email
us or call us at (800) 448-7469 if you have any questions.