The Playgoer: Does NY Musical Theatre Fest Exploit Dramatists?

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Does NY Musical Theatre Fest Exploit Dramatists?

The Dramatists Guild is taking the unusual step of warning its members off of the New York Musical Theatre Festival--a popular fringe-like summertime perennial that has attracted increasingly professional talent.  But thanks to the success of such alums as [title of show] and the now Pulitzer-winning Next to Normal, the Fest wants to ensure a piece of any future action for its titles.

According to Backstage:

In a letter sent last week to members, the guild explained that NYMF's new contract entitles the festival to 2 percent of the applicant and author's gross "on all income received from the play in excess of $20,000 over 10 years." The guild maintains that with respect to future subsidiary rights, such claims are too high for a presenting festival that already asks participants to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket.

"It crosses a line, and it's a very serious matter for us," Ralph Sevush, the guild's executive director for business affairs, told Back Stage. "....As long as NYMF is going to insist on subsidiary rights as if they were producers without taking the risks of producers, without enhancing the way producers enhance the value of the author's property, then yes, we recommend against its use."
Well put, Ralph.

NYMF claims what they do provide in the way of support and publicity merits the subsidiary rights claim.  But they seem to be reconsidering.

But this is a good reminder to any creative artists and producers out there submitting to similar festivals to check your contracts carefully.

1 comment:

The Playgoer said...

Update: NYMTF agrees to drop subsidiary rights clause:
http://www.backstage.com/bso/news-and-features-news/nymf-bows-to-dramatists-guild-1004101320.story