Live Performance, Lectures, Dramatics Performances

Public Performance

Dramatic works may not be publicly performed without permission, either in their entirety or in smaller portions, such as: excerpts, acts, scenes, monologues, etc. 

Grand Performing Rights
The rights that are needed to publicly perform a dramatic work that combines a musical work together with staging, dialogue, costuming, special lighting, choreography, etc. are referred to as grand performing rights.  Grand performing rights are typically obtained from the creators of the works or their publishers. 

Small Performing Rights
The rights to publicly perform a single piece of music from a musical play in a non-dramatic fashion are often referred to as small performing rights.  Small performing rights are typically covered under the licensing arrangements for musical works with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, as described in the section on music above.  To qualify as a non-dramatic performance, a piece of music taken from a musical play may not make use of any form of staging, choreography, etc., even if the use of any of these elements is not intended to represent any part of the original musical play.  For example, creating your own dance steps to a piece of music from a musical play disqualifies the use as a non-dramatic use and requires permission for the grand performing rights. 

Organizations that license grant performing rights to plays and musical theater works

  • Baker’s Plays
  • Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.
  • Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
  • Dramatic Publishing Co.
  • Music Theatre International
  • Pioneer Drama Service
  • Popular Play Service
  • The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization
  • Samuel French, Inc.
  •  Tams-Witmark Music Library


Most uses of lawfully owned copies of dramatic works in face-to-face teaching activities in the classroom (or via dissemination through a digital network, as an integral part of a class session) are permitted provided certain conditions are met. (See the TEACH Act Checklist).

Dramatic works performed within the classroom are permitted.