What is a perusal?

Perusal means “the examination or reading of something, paying attention to details.” In the theatrical world, publishers use the term as a noun to describe an advance copy of a script (sometimes with parts of a score) to help producers, teachers, and theater staff decide if the play or musical is the right fit for their audience and company. Stage Rights offers digital perusals online (the fastest way), as well as perusal packs for our musicals, which include a sampling of the score to help music directors get a closer look at orchestrations, vocal ranges, and the skill required for each part.

Do you sell printed books?

Absolutely! Our printed books are beautifully printed with full-color covers, and are available for purchase on the Stage Rights website, as well as through Amazon and other online bookstores. 

Can I use the books I bought online for my production?

No. As a part of the licensing agreement, you are required to purchase a specific performance package for production purposes. Perusals and books purchased online or in bookstores cannot be used for performance purposes. 

Can I make copies of the script I found online?

Nope. To go further, if you happen to find a script or score online on a “free” website, chances are that the company running that website is acting outside the laws of our country. Some of these sites look legitimate—but do yourselves and the theatre community a big favor by not contributing to these sites. If it seems too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be legal.

What about making copies of the script I bought from a real source?

Now you’re just asking silly questions. Making copies of scripts is illegal, even for classroom use. If you were taught by teachers that making copies is okay, they were mistaken. See the next question and answer for a really good reason to buy books from a legitimate source. There are certain shows in our catalog for which digital performance packages are made available with your production rights. Once the appropriate fees have been paid, your production license grants you the right to make the necessary copies for your production.

Do I have to pay royalties?

Any time a play is performed, royalties have to be paid. Playwrights make a living from the sale of their books and the performance of their works. The work of an author is a pivotal part of the theatrical experience, and the entire theatrical community should work tirelessly to support the work of playwrights so we continue to have great plays and musicals to entertain us for years to come.

What about my classroom? Or competitions? Or Festivals? 

Yes, classrooms too. There are many instances where royalties are reduced for competitions and festivals, and many classroom presentations only require the proper purchase of scripts. Once you have created an account with Stage Rights, you can ask your account representative for more details about your particular situation.

Can I make changes to the play to fit my needs?

The play must be presented only as published, without any changes, additions, alterations, or deletions to the text or the title. This also includes not altering, updating, or amending the time, locales, or settings of the play in any way, whether these elements are made explicit in the stage directions or are clearly implicit in the text. Furthermore, casting also constitutes a part of the author’s play. As such, if the gender identity, ethnicity and/or race of the characters are made explicit in the stage directions or are clearly implicit in the text, such casting requirements are deemed a business necessity and the characters are to be performed by actors who meet such bona fide occupational qualifications, unless the Author has expressly approved other casting choices. 

Wow. That was a long answer to my short question.

Yes, but we’re kind of serious about this. If you do want to make changes, you can submit requests for permission to your account representative for review and consideration by the author or copyright holder. Permission is often granted, especially for competition cuts and sensitive language.  Stage Rights will provide a timely and written reply to all such written requests. Stage Rights also carries a variety of plays with clean editions and/or versions edited by the authors themselves for competition purposes.

How and when should I secure performance rights?

To help ensure that rights are available and your license is processed on time, we encourage you to apply for rights well in advance of any planned performances, and always before advertising the show. There are some instances where a particular title may be restricted in some areas, or another group is performing the show nearby. We offer exclusive area rights to professional theaters, but do not have exclusivity for non-professional groups. 

Do you own these plays and musicals?

We do not own the plays and musicals. Authors retain ownership of their work, and we act as their agents and collect royalties for the authors. All Stage Rights titles are protected under Federal and International copyright laws and may not be produced without an authorized production license. We are the exclusive agents for plays and musicals in our catalog, and you cannot be granted performance rights by any other company.


What about streaming rights?

Stage Rights can allow limited streaming performance rights to many of our titles. To see which titles are available, use the advanced search option on the main page (or at the top of the SHOW page), choose "Streaming Rights Available" in your category, and hit FIND.  The shows that come up in that search have all been cleared for streaming rights for a limited time. Other shows not appearing on this list (including our jukebox shows) must be cleared for streaming on a case by case basis, so don't be shy -- ask! 

For more information about different streaming platforms and to find out which suits your theater, go to this page: