Dramatic works such as plays and musicals are the intellectual property of their authors. The writers and their estates make their livelihoods from granting the rights to their works. These works are managed by Licensing companies who will assist you in selecting the appropriate show for your school. Upon payment of a royalty fee, they will provide you with the authorized performance materials including the scripts and scores you must use for your production. Please be aware that it is against the law to present a theatrical work without securing these rights and approved materials. It is also unlawful to use the source book, cast recordings and/or film versions to create your own original version of the piece—doing so is considered copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is a serious matter with severe consequences for both the individuals and the school involved.
While individual teachers are permitted to a limited extent to use parts of a copyrighted work in their classrooms under the Fair Use rights, the general rule is to obtain permission first. If you have legal questions related to copyright laws, contact the Legal Services office at your school.
Visit StageNotes.net regularly where you will find authorized educational materials you can use in your classroom, special offers on titles you can perform in your school and best practices for integrating the theatre arts into your lesson plans.