Open Forum

Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

  • 1.  Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 08-28-2019 13:33
    Edited by Ginny Butsch 09-03-2019 09:10
    I'm directing South Pacific for a local community theatre and we've been waiting for 7 weeks to get rights to the show. We've emailed, called, filled out forms, and all we get told is that they're "having difficulties" and we "just have to wait."
    This group only rehearsed on weekends and the show is slated to go up at the end of January. With two weeks off for holidays, we're quickly running out of time.  We're about ready to cancel. We can't advertise at all, including placing ads in the programs of
    others, which is a main source of our audiences.
    Is anyone else have these issues?  I thought I saw a post, but now I can't find it. 😢

    Connie Voight
    Theatre Artist
    Huntsville AL

  • 2.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 08-28-2019 16:04
    Oh no!  Now I'm nervous, because I just applied for rights to South Pacific!

    Janette Clark
    Drama Teacher
    Minneapolis KS

  • 3.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 08-29-2019 12:47
    I hope someone can answer this question.   I applied for our rights before the end of last school year and received them in about 4 weeks.   We selected White Christmas and I signed the contract and sent payment information last week.    I asked for confirmation of receipt of my email and have heard nothing.   I have also tried calling, but no one ever answers the phone, an automated system tells you to send emails.

    I sent another email today and still have no response.

    I am concerned because our auditions are next week, and we are slated to start practice the next week.  I have signed the contract, so I don't know if I can advertise, have auditions, or start rehearsals.   We are a high school and I have to schedule my practice and performances the year prior.   It is too late to apply and receive performance rights for anything else.    Yikes... does anyone know anything or have insight?

    I wasn't anticipating this problem since I've never had any late issues with other companies.

    Hoping for positive results...

    Stacie Graves
    Drama Department
    Ramstein HS, Germany

  • 4.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 08-29-2019 17:07
    I too had a long wait, is it because they were bought by Concord Music? Maybe they are still in transition mode.

    Karin Neal
    Theatre Director
    Trinity Catholic Jr. Sr. High School
    Hutchinson KS

  • 5.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 08-30-2019 09:39
    I just posted the same question on the High School Theater Teachers & Directors Facebook group.  There were so many responses that others were having the same problems.   I couldn't get a hold of anyone via email or phone--returned addresses, dead phone lines, etc.  I'm also super stressed about it, but I'm sure you're really worried, considering everything will have to be sent overseas!  If I get a good lead from the FB posts or any other efforts, I'll email you as soon as I learn new info.  Good luck!

    Katherine Lowther
    Fine Arts Department Chair
    Winchester KY

  • 6.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 09-03-2019 09:10
    Edited by Ginny Butsch 09-03-2019 09:10

    @Stacie Graves

    Anything from Pioneer will give you immediate license & you can have scripts in hand in a few days.  They also allow you to change the date of your show, should you work everything out in the meantime.  That way you can reslate it to fit into your schedule better.  

    Maria Stadtmueller 
    Kendall Park, NJ

  • 7.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 08-30-2019 11:40
    I haven't had trouble getting the rights to my spring musical (I was able to do that without too much difficulty last spring) but I haven't been able to get communication on questions this fall. I've tried multiple times this year (And we started back on July 23) and have consistently not gotten the information I requested. I just thought you should know this issue isn't limited to new requests.

    Shira Schwartz
    Chandler Unified School District
    Chandler AZ

  • 8.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 08-30-2019 14:35
    We applied for South Pacific as well. A couple of weeks later I checked in and was given an email reply that "this was a restricted title" and we may have to wait 15 days or more. I checked another thread on this website and found the looooong thread of replies lamenting about the poor customer service.
    I also sent numerous emails and phone messages to no response.

    We decided to dump them and went with another show because we were beginning auditions and we needed a show. That same day I received an invoice with added charges from a show my school did FIVE YEARS AGO. No letter explaining the charges or why I suddenly received the invoice.

    Based on what I read in the other thread and seeing this thread, I'm glad I dumped the show. Good riddance to bad garbage.

    Roger Winn
    Theatre Director
    Golden CO

  • 9.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 08-30-2019 14:42
    Oh...... no..... I feel bad for my students ....

  • 10.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 08-30-2019 15:37
    Keep bugging them!  Good luck 

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 11.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 08-31-2019 09:54
    I just posted this on the other thread about Tams.

    From my understanding of the situation, Concord Music now owns Tams, Samuel French, R & H, and The Musical Company. My experience with them the past year has been horrendous. I submitted a license request with R & H and never heard back from them. We had a contract to do Joseph and ended up cancelling the show and it took almost 6 months to get a refund on our royalty and rental fees. I was calling and emailing every week. The excuse that I kept receiving was that their CFO resigned and it was taking longer to get refunds processed. Then when they finally had it processed I had to wait several weeks for the CEO to supposedly sign the check. I am hoping it is a case of growing too rapidly and adjusting to the increased responsibilities. However, it definitely has me thinking twice about doing another show through them in the near future. I have heard about others having difficulties with R & H as well as Samuel French. I guess we are stuck with looking at shows from MTI or Theatrical Rights Worldwide for this year. My experiences with them over the past 20 years of directing has been phenomenal.

    Andy Cantrell
    Director of Theatre/Teacher
    Findlay OH

  • 12.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 09-01-2019 15:20
    Why are so many people doing South Pacific?  It's very problematic.

    Joseph Gels
    Theatre Teacher
    Boston Latin School
    Boston MA

  • 13.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 09-01-2019 21:20
    Edited by .... ...... 6 days ago


  • 14.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 09-03-2019 10:06
    I guess my answer is...because the songs are great and I don't have to choreograph modern dance numbers (which I always struggle with).
    I know there are some issues of political correctness, but I think students can learn from the WWII setting and maybe appreciate that the cultural issues were daring when the musical first was produced.

    But... I'm choosing another musical because of the license and delivery issues.

    Janette Clark
    Drama Teacher
    Minneapolis KS

  • 15.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 09-09-2019 22:08
    Joseph, I read the article, and I disagree with much of it. That person is entitled to their opinion, however, their interpretation is not completely accurate. There are issues that need to be addressed, but almost every play has issues.  Interpretation is in the hands of the director, and there are ways around some of the issues brought up. Consider WHEN this musical was written, it was certainly ahead of its time.  If a director wants to do an older play, there will always be sensitive issues to deal with. It is important that students are guided through the troubled spots.  These moments can provide a learning opportunity as they are discussed with students. Jungle Book has been recently criticized because Kipling, a Brit, was writing about India (which was under British rule at the time). However, that does not necessarily taint the work. The recent film of the work seemed to do a wonderful job of making his characters come to life without harm.

    I directed South Pacific this past spring, as my final production after 19 years with the school. It was a great chance to deal with prejudice, which is clearly still an issue in this country.  Certain racists have become embolden to speak out and protest recently, therefore I felt it time to tackle this issue.  World War 2 is taught in the school, so this was an ideal play to use.  We produced The Diary of Anne Frank in the fall, which is a very moving drama.  This musical was a good play to finish the year with. It appears to be an entertaining musical because the songs are catchy, however the serious and important lessons are there for the audience. To help my students understand the important social issues of the musical, they got to meet a survivor of a WW2 Japanese-American Internment Camp. All the native characters (including Bloody Mary) were portrayed with dignity and respect. The comic relief characters were Billis and his crew.  In all, the students learned a great deal working on the show.

    BTW: I would take intellectual criticism with a grain of salt. Holding up an older piece of literature to modern political correctness can be somewhat unfair. When I directed Alice Through the Looking Glass I found critics who claimed that the writer (Lewis Carroll) was a pedophile, a view that was negated by Alice Liddell and her family.  Since then, I have learned that not all critical reviews are valid or accurate.

    Valerie Farschman, Drama Director
    MLS Theatre Company, Troupe 1422
    Marion L Steele High School
    Amherst, Ohio

  • 16.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 09-04-2019 08:55
    Edited by Lawrence Badanai 09-04-2019 08:56
    To echo the other comments, you're not the only one who has been experience delays in licensing. I found problems this year from all the new Concord family of companies (with additional poor service than usual), even down to TRW. Ended up limiting our shows in our season down to MTI titles only due to ease of access to tittle and customer service (which now is top of the line compared to the others). This has been my experience anyhow this past few months.

  • 17.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 09-06-2019 13:35
    I just changed to MTI (Frozen, Jr) from R&H and received the license in less than 30 minutes!  A school down the road ordered rush delivery for Legally Blonde, Jr and received the books 3 days later.
    I'm not trying to be a commercial for MTI, I am just sharing my positive experience.

    Janette Clark
    Drama Teacher
    Minneapolis KS

  • 18.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 09-08-2019 21:40
    Yes- I've been waiting for a reply from them since July 3rd.  I requested rights for Hello Dolly and they will not say no or yes! I know that Hello Dolly is coming off tour in May next year- my request is for the Spring.  A group in Columbia , SC (one hour away) is doing it this week and a high school in my town did it last year.  They are now under the umbrella Concord Theatricals with Tams Whitmark, R & H and Samuel French. I've called, sent emails, complained, etc.   I feel like I am getting the run around!

    Tamara Altman
    Rock Hill School District
    Rock Hill SC

  • 19.  RE: Rodgers-Hammerstein-Trouble getting rights

    Posted 09-09-2019 11:19
    Try emailing She's been the only one to respond to me, and she finally approved my contract, even after it was apparently "lost in the mail".  Luckily I had a PDF with clear pictures of every page, including the postmarked envelope.

    Best of luck,

    Katherine Lowther
    Fine Arts Department Chair
    Winchester KY