works may not be publicly performed without permission, either in their
entirety or in smaller portions, such as: excerpts, acts, scenes, monologues,
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
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
Organizations that license grant performing rights to plays and musical
Play Publishing, Inc.
Play Service, Inc.
Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization
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).
works performed within the classroom are permitted.