Stage Rights: A theatrical publisher, right here in California
Originally published in January 2016
Founded in 2000, Stage Rights is a Los Angeles-based theatrical publisher, licensing musicals and plays to commercial producers, regional theaters, community theaters and educational theaters across the country and around the world. Best known for its collection of small-cast, easy-to-produce plays and musicals including the off-Broadway smash hits, The Marvelous Wonderettes and Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, & Marriage. Titles range in style and content from musical comedies to thrilling dramas. For more information or to view our catalog, please visit the website, www.stagerights.com.
"Stage Rights is an incredibly hands on company that loves to think outside box.
We are always on hand to answer questions and have a variety of resources available to producers."
Stage Right's Director of Marketing & Communications, Mike Abramson talks about California's own theatrical
publisher and its exciting programs, including some specifically supporting California based theaters and playwrights.
Are a lot of California community theatre groups aware of the wonderful resource that is Stage Rights, here in our own State?
I hope they are. Our catalog is sent to about 2500 theaters in California, but I’m not sure how many of them realize that we share a coast. During the month of December, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing our shows at three theater companies in the Southern California region. I love when theaters in our home state produce our titles and I always make an effort to go and see their productions.
Is there a particular benefit for California community theatres choosing Stage Rights catalog items over work from a licensing house that is not in-state?
There sure is. We offer a great licensing special to California-based theater companies, which includes a free Logo/PR Pack and a 10% discount on royalties for shows written by California-based playwrights. Stage Rights is an incredibly hands on company that loves to think outside box. We are always on hand to answer questions and have a variety of resources available to producers. Our goal is to help make producers’ lives easier. If anyone is interested in a list of our titles written by California-based playwrights, they can email me at: email@example.com.
Does Stage Rights have a lot of California clients?
We work with quite a few theater companies in California, but I would love the opportunity to work with more theaters around the state.
Do you find there are a lot of playwrights in California (for example, AACT has many playwrights who are individual members in the Southern CA area)? How does Stage Rights provide support for playwrights, or what is the process for a playwright to get his/her work to be part of your catalog?
California has an amazing playwriting community. Some of the California- based authors we work with include Greg Crafts (Friends Like These), Keith Stevenson (Fried Meat Trilogy), “Mike and Molly’s” Louis Mustillo (Bartenders) and Roger Bean (The Marvelous Wonderettes franchise and The Andrews Brothers) to name a few. We were founded by a playwright, so it’s important to us to foster the growth of new work. That’s why we continue to have an open submissions policy. Playwrights who are interested in submitting their project to Stage Rights can download a copy of our submissions policy from our website or request one by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do a lot of theatres come back to Stage Rights multiple times to look for work to produce?
Yes, absolutely! I love working with a theater multiple times, as they become an extended member of the Stage Rights family. In fact, our Producers Circle was specifically designed to reward theaters that produce multiple shows with us. The program has several tiers so the more shows a theater produces with us, the more they can save.
Do you help guide a community theatre in finding work that is right for them? How?
Theatre people LOVE to talk about theatre, so yes; all of us at Stage Rights are enthusiastic about helping community theaters find the right show for their space, audience, and season. It’s a passion of ours. Theater companies and producers should never hesitate to call or email us if they have any questions about a show. We’d love to help them find a great fit.
"...all of us at Stage Rights are enthusiastic about helping community theaters find the right show for their space, audience, and season. It’s a passion of ours."
Tell me how working with a boutique/independent publisher is different than working with a larger licensing entity? How is it beneficial for both Stage Rights and the theatre companies?
One of the many reasons I love working with Stage Rights is that we treat our clients like extended family. Working with Stage Rights means a theater will get personalized service. When calling during office hours, a person rather then a message greets the caller so they can be immediately helped. As an independent publisher, we have the ability to get to know the theaters we work with on a personal level, which allows us to anticipate their needs. This level of intimacy enabled us to launch our exciting StageShare program.
Tell me a little more about the Stage Share program, which was announced earlier this summer? How has the response been so far? I think it's a super program, and very innovative. I think this level of creative collaborating is exactly what community theatre has the potential to embrace. We already share so many resources, I really hope this program helps organizations take leaps in producing shows they may have only been considering - now they can make that leap.
This is a program I am incredibly passionate about as it celebrates the collaborative nature of theatre. StageShare is an innovative new service designed to make new works easier to produce. We hope to connect theaters that want to produce the same show from our catalog. We’ll help them find ways to share production resources such as sets or costumes and, as an added bonus; both companies will receive reduced rates on rehearsal materials. So far, the response hasn’t been huge, but we’re hopeful that as the word gets out, more companies will share our excitement and sign up. Additional information and an application are available at stageshare.stagerights.com.
How do people choose the shows from the catalog, from your experience? Are they looking for a specific content/story/theme/genre, or are they looking for shows that are economical to produce (for example)?
Both! What’s great is that most of our shows can fit both needs. If a producer is looking for more daring and innovative works, they may select Out of My Head or Edgar Bound. Likewise, if a theater focuses on presenting comedic plays and/or musicals, they might select The Marvelous Wonderettes or A Breath of Dusty Air. These shows and many others from our catalog can be produced on a tight budget.
From what you've heard from theatres, how do audiences like the experience of seeing newer, different productions that come from the Stage Rights catalog?
I really love the eclectic mix of shows in our catalog. While many of our titles may not be familiar to audiences, they do contain familiar themes, historical figures, subject matter, and music that audiences can relate to. I know how daunting it can be to produce a show with little name recognition. That is why we came up with our programs. Not only do they help theaters save money when producing new works, they are also designed to give audience members bragging rights. From my experience, audience members love telling friends that they saw a premiere production.
What are some of your most popular titles from the catalog?
The Marvelous Wonderettes (of course), The Andrews Brothers, the off-Broadway hit Application Pending, Princess K.I.M. The Musical, The Snow Queen, Watson: The Last Great Tale of the Legendary Sherlock Holmes, and Lend Me A Tenor: The Musical.
What are some of the shows in the catalog you hope community theatres will produce more? Ie: what are some of the under-produced titles you are particularly fond of? Do you recommend those titles to theatres looking for suggestions?
I would love to see more theaters produce amother musical. It’s a beautiful show with a great score that follows four women through the ups and downs of motherhood. In addition, I think Sheepskin, Becoming Britney, Songs for a More Funnier World, Naughty/Nice, and She-Rantulas From Outer Space in 3D and are all superb. These titles are well written, Broadway-caliber shows that are extremely affordable to produce. It’s hard to choose though — we have so many great titles in our catalog.
Tell me more about the upcoming blog, Stage Writes? What content or topics will you feature?
We are incredibly excited to be launching our new blog during the beginning half of this year. Stage Writes will be a great resource featuring up to date information on all things theatre. We’re organizing the blog into five categories including Backstage, On Stage, Front of House, In Rehearsal, and From the Desk of.
"We work with quite a few theater companies in California, but I would love the opportunity to work with more theaters around the state."
How can California community theatres learn more about Stage Rights, or how can they talk to you about their licensing questions or interest?
Our website is the easiest way to find answers to most questions. On the website, theaters can find information on our plays and musicals, listen to jukebox samples, watch videos, and review information about our innovative programs. We're available via email at email@example.com and producers can reach us Monday – Friday at (323) 739-0413 if they’d like to speak with a Stage Rights representative. We are always happy to answer any questions about our programs, our titles, or the licensing process in general.