Pump Up The Royalties

An article in Everett, Washington’s Daily Herald today shows how playwrights and publishing companies are essentially beating up drama students for their lunch money.

Some of the royalty percentages discussed aren’t too different from a professional production; only the smaller stakes make it seem more desperate. But one-third of the gross ticket sales for Oklahoma royalties? Half of the production cost for Les Mis, Jr.? You can only ask schools to tithe so much before the quality of the work suffers.

Drama students at Kamiak said they don’t mind scrimping on costumes at Value Village or other thrift stores if it means finding the right play.

Good for Value Village, but how does that look onstage? Do our little league Nicely-Nicely Johnsons resemble Beckett tramps? Is our Audrey II a sock puppet? Is Grease Lightning a Tonka Truck?

A bigger budget doesn’t mean a better production. But no high school play should look like “a high school play”; how else are students expected to be more than just “high school actors”? As playwrights, don’t we want our plays to be healthy and well-fed?

As we mull our answers, a reminder: there are many plays on this site, and rates are negotiable. You know the e-mail address.

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