Policy for Cutting MTI Shows for Competition Purposes

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June 30, 2010
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What is the policy for cutting a MTI show for competition purposes? Are all shows allowed to be cut, if the rights to cut are obtained? How does one go about submitting a request to do so. Do you have to provide the exact cut when asking to do so?
2 answers

July 2, 2010
As a writer, I find cutting a full length show to make a shorter show a tricky business. I personally have no problem with a producer creating a preview that skips over or summarizes whole sections of the play. I have no problem with a producer creating a showcase that highlights the best numbers. I'm all for giving people a taste of the show as a way to help raise money or bring in an audience. I'd be uncomfortable about allowing wholesale cuts to a the play itself. Why? Well, often the best way to cut a show is to cut out the subplot or secondary characters. You can loose a lot that way (half the show in "Grease" is songs by supporting characters). Still, cutting the subplot keeps the focus on the main storyline. Some people have a good feeling for doing this sort of thing, others don't. Some people understand the structure of a play and can tell what scene is the very heart of a piece, while others ... not so much. I support MTI's policy of asking for all requests for cuts in writing. I believe it is a smart move, fair to the authors and actually helps protect the producers. Best wishes, Rodney Robbins, the Singing Playwright

Staff Answer
July 1, 2010
Dear Coleman, Thanks for your question. If you are interested in cutting a show for competition purposes we ask that you put your request in writing, providing us with as much information as possible, and either email or fax it to us and we will then check with the authors or their representatives to see if permission may be granted. Each request is looked at on a case by case basis. We cannot grant permission for scenes and songs to be moved to different acts or places in a show other then where they would normally occur. In other words, you cannot essentially re-write the show. The show must follow its normal course, even within the cutting. If you have any further questions please let us know. Thanks, Brian O'Sullivan Director of Amateur Licensing