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ken greene
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   Posted 10/10/2004 8:32 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Anyone have any thoughts as to the easiest way to take an incredibly complex score from this amazing broadway music, edit it, and print a new, simplified version for a middle school production? If you have a solution, and it truly works, not only will you win my eternal gratitude (and that of a few hundred others), but I can probably manage a decent cash "reward". hey it's for the kids- it's worth it!
Ken
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Zuill
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   Posted 10/10/2004 8:56 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Two things:

1. Get permission from the copyright owners first. Without that, you're wasting your time and money. If you are making an appeal here on a public forum, you're putting yourself at higher risk than maybe you want to be.

2. Hal Leonard, in conjunction with Musical Theater International, has put out a respectable line of Musicals adapted for up to 9th grade that, for the money, are the best thing going. The are referred to as the Broadway Junior series. Check those out first. Not only do you get the vocal scores in ranges and lengths suitable for the age, but the productions are around an hour in length, and come with the full demo CD and the Accompaniment only CD. It's the way to go. I've done 2 and am doing my third this year.

Zuill


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Post Edited (Zuill) : 10/11/2004 2:05:37 AM GMT

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ken greene
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   Posted 10/10/2004 9:21 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks for the response. We have already paid a fairly hefty license fee for the score and the right to perform the show. Do you think we need consent to make reasonable modifications too? Any changes made would solely be for the same purpose the license covers.
I will check out the Hal Leonard Junio series, though the ball is already rolling on this production and it may be too late. All I really want to do is create a performance-friendly version of what we licensed, including the edits that were necessary to accommodate the kids, like key transpositions and deletions to make the show a reasonable length for a middle school play.
What have I gotten myself into? Anyway, I do greatly appreciate the feedback.
Ken
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Zuill
"The Troll"



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   Posted 10/10/2004 9:28 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Read the license you signed. Most of them say any adaption is prohibited without consent of the license holder. Check with them first.

Zuill


"When all is said and done, more is said than done."
 
Finale 2004b, 2005, Win 2000 or XP

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Ward Baxter
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   Posted 10/10/2004 10:57 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Although there are some "fair use" loopholes toward education, copyright is pretty strict and absolute. Before you think about doing ANYTHING to someone's intellectual property, you need written permission. period. Performance license fees generally have nothing to do with anything but a straight performance of the material as it's written. The good news is that you can do a cut and dry "permission to arrange" from the copyright holder, explain exactly what you said above, and due to the circumstances...it should be no problem, and probably no fee...but that's just speculation. As long as you aren't doing it for financial gain and it's in an education capacity, the big companies controlling copyright (Hal Leonard, WB, EMI, etc) are very accomodating.


Ward Baxter
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Jim Coull
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   Posted 10/10/2004 11:22 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
FWIW, I have had to rewrite the woodwind books for almost every musical I have directed and in each case, I was given permission from the companies to do it. Since we had paid the rental fees, there was no additional charge, but I did have to send a request form that was on the order of a "work for hire" contract and wait for the signed contract to arrive before I started the rewrites. The permission process took about 2-3 days when the forms were faxed, a bit longer by snail mail.

BTW, it is my understanding that you are allowed to make cuts in the music, i.e., delete a scene change number, leave out a reprise, skip a dance number, etc., without violating the license agreement so long as each selection that you play is performed in its entirety as written. However, it would wise to check with someone more aware of the legal aspects of this than me before doing it.

Finally, I would second Zuill's advice to check out the Hal Leonard Series for your future productions. They are very well edited and within the reach of far more groups than are the original Broadway scores & parts.

Jim Coull
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ken greene
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   Posted 10/11/2004 10:51 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Well, I certainly do appreciate all of the responses I have received, even if I am no closer to a solution to my problem than before! As a professional musician and a lawyer, I am both cognizant of the copyright restrictions, and glad to see people like you with the integrity to heed them. (I'm one of the those guys who won't even let my bandmates copy my CD's).
That being said, the lawyer (and the dad) in me has to question what MTI thinks will happen when it licenses a 320 page Leonard Bernstein score to be used for a performance by 11, 12, and 13 year old kids. If they/we were remotely capable of performing the score as written, I would take the cast out of the school gym and bring them to Broadway. How could MTI, or anyone, envision a score like west Side Story not being transposed, condensed, and edited, both musically and lyrically? How would the parents react to Action singing "with all that marijuana, they won't give me a puff"? Would I be sued by "Maria's" parents if she passed ou trying to hold a high A for five measures?
Jeez.
(Thanks a ton anyway)
Ken
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Jim Coull
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   Posted 10/12/2004 12:53 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
The Hal Leonard series does exactly what you are looking for. If they haven't done it for West Side Story, it's probably because they couldn't get permission or, more than likely, thought the cost was too high. I had to pay over $1500 for permission to string 5 tunes from WSS into a 10 minute marching band show almost ten years ago and that was just for a work for hire contract. I can't even imagine how much it would have cost if I wanted to publish it.

BTW, the teacher (and dad) in me has to question what the directors were thinking when they chose a musical as hard as WSS for a group of 11-13 year old kids unless they happen to be an unusually talented group of students. It is not the responsibility of the publishers to license their musicals only to groups that have a reasonable chance of performing them as written. It is, however, the drama coach's and orchestra director's task to select age appropriate material for their groups and WSS probably doesn't fit the bill for your particular age group. Sorry for the rant and I don't intend any disrespect, but it sounds like this has the potential to be a great learning experience for your group.

Jim Coull
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Bob Stiffler
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   Posted 10/12/2004 10:21 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Ken.

Even if you got permission it would be a huge job. Assume 320 pages X 6 measures per page X 7 instruments is 13,000 +/_ measures to input.

If the 320 page score is high quality printing, you may be able to scan it in. And then you have the "revising" time by a good musician to make something that will work.

If you really have to pull this off you might get 6 or 7 keyboardists with synthesizers and assign each synthesizer to play a given part. This would handle your transposing problem also.

Your options are lousy. Good Luck anyway.

Bob Stiffler
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mkelley
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   Posted 10/13/2004 9:32 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Yes, I hate to say it (because it really doesn't address the question asked) but I agree with Jim in that this production is way out of line with high school, let alone junior high students. Heck, I direct a fairly talented community theater with several top-notch singers and we wouldn't begin to tackle this. What's the next production for these kids, Webber's Phantom of the Opera?

Perhaps there's still time to rethink the selection -- there are a number of very fine, much smaller musicals that would be much better choices. You may be able to get your money refunded or applied towards one of those productions. Even the act of having to switch productions is a learning experience, so nothing is wasted.


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Singer Bear
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   Posted 10/13/2004 10:07 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I do know for some productions (Les Miz, for example), have "junior" productions available for schools. It may be through MTI (Musical Theater International), but I may be wrong. Being a theatrical performer, I understand that many jr. high and high school students want to do these big popular shows. But under a school's jurisdiction, it would certainly be questionable.

Check into "junior" productions. They may even have "reduxed" scores available, too.

-Singer Bear


“When I burp the alphabet, my favorite letter is G. It is an open consonant and it is at the beginning when my wind is strong. I can really push it." -- Ashlee Simpson
 
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Dick Brodfuehrer
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   Posted 10/13/2004 10:14 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Bob Stiffler said...
Ken.

Even if you got permission it would be a huge job. Assume 320 pages X 6 measures per page X 7 instruments is 13,000 +/_ measures to input.
I can attest to that from experience.  Something like 40 years ago (I'm not fibbing when I say "old geezer") I re-scored and simplified two Broadway shows for a high school. A friend in a small school had rented the show scores and discovered to his dismay that the orchestra was way over his kids' heads.  His problem was increased by the fact that his best instrumentalists were also the best singers and were doing the stage parts.  So, not only couldn't they play it, they couldn't even cover the basic instrumentation.
 
I took the job as a challenge and as a favor to my friend.  And it was a good thing I did, because I ended up earning a little less the five cents an hour.  (A person remembers numbers like that! tongue )
 
Nevertheless, it was worth it to see those kids so proud of the fact that they had a real live pit orchestra, and not, as in past years, just had Billie Joe Snabblegaker pounding on a piano.  tongue


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Zuill
"The Troll"



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   Posted 10/13/2004 12:07 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
The Broadway Junior series has only a piano score, and an accompaniment CD (very nice). It is designed for up to 9th grade (not for High School, by contract agreement). The Le Miserable "Junior" version is not designed for Junior High, but is a modified High School version, not appropriate for younger casts.

I am doing Guys and Dolls Junior this year, because I've got boys, and it takes mostly boys. Next year, my group is mostly girls, so we are looking at Annie. Go on the MTI website and take a look. They are adding some of the Disney line to there list very soon (maybe even now).
 


"When all is said and done, more is said than done."
 
Finale 2004b, 2005, Win 2000 or XP

Post Edited (Zuill) : 10/13/2004 5:10:42 PM GMT

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