Larson's unhappy with RENT

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littlegreen2
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#51
Posted: 7/12/11 at 8:14pm
Well, this thread is a disaster! All I have to say is that I hope it is not a replica of the original production because that would be boring. I really do hope that it is reimagined and new. I can't wait to hear what people say when it opens this week.
"I will not cease from mental fight, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand: Till we have built Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land."
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#52
Posted: 7/13/11 at 7:41am
"AND while you may say that it's perfectly fine to change the end so that Mimi dies, would you also say it was ok for a company to change the end of Sound of Music so that the Nazi's capture the von Trapps? A West Side Story where Tony lives? I think not."


Personally, I would have loved to see Tony live, marry Maria, and the two of them live happily ever after. I would have also liked to see Romeo and Juliet do the same.
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#53
Posted: 7/13/11 at 7:42am
Just give the world Love.
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#54
Posted: 7/13/11 at 9:01am
"...change the end of Sound of Music so that the Nazi's capture the von Trapps?"
Hmm, well as The Sound of Music is LOOSELY based on real events and the REAL Von Trapp family escaped and survived for many years after the war... thats not the BEST example of an argument, thats comparing a fictional show and real peoples lives!!

Though I do have to say I agree on the fact, you can not change the way a show ends... especially when it comes down to a character dying or not!!
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#55
Posted: 7/13/11 at 9:17am
I think after Mimi wakes up she should be run over by a blood mobile, for the ultimate ironic ending.
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#56
Posted: 7/13/11 at 9:24am
"Well, this thread is a disaster!"

Au contraire!
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#57
Posted: 7/13/11 at 9:39am
"If the premise of this thread is true, these alterations are specifically not in accordance with the wishes of the rights holders. More importantly, I'm just wondering where all our fake outrage over meddling with prior works ran off to? Or is the line drawn between "libretto" and "music"?"

The line is between "book, music and lyrics" and "orchestrations". My understanding is that Steve Skinner is the orchestrator for the original production of Rent (since he won the Drama Desk for his orchestrations!) and he would be the one who any discussion about re-using his orchestrations, not the Larson estate. I've just been through my files and looked at a contract with the authors of a fairly large scale musical which specifically states that they don't have any rights in the orchestration, and I would suspect that the Broadway producers at least (if not NYTW) had a similar agreement in place.

I would in fact suggest that the Larson estate do not have any say in the orchestrations whatsoever, and that Kevin McCollum et al can engage whoever they like to reorchestrate the show. Of course arrangements may be different with Rent but I speak merely from my own experience.
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#58
Posted: 7/13/11 at 9:51am
I still think that if Larson had not died, reNt would never have been a hit or opened on Broadway.
Well I didn't want to get into it, but he's a Satanist. Every full moon he sacrifices 4 puppies to the Dark Lord and smears their blood on his paino. This should help you understand the score for Wicked a little bit more. Tazber's: Reply to Is Stephen Schwartz a Practicing Christian
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#59
Posted: 7/13/11 at 9:53am
It's cute how enraged Mitchell gets when someone knows something he doesn't. He know so much, yet has that pathological need to know more than anyone else.
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#60
Posted: 7/13/11 at 10:09am
I don't know a thing about the subject, but actually, newintown, you're the one who's seemed enraged throughout this thread.

Also you haven't refuted any of the points others have made, though you've ascribed a lot of presumed motives.
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#61
Posted: 7/13/11 at 10:25am
This has become entirely silly, with ghostlight and Joey and Reg swooping in with moral outrage over something that they don't know about, but about which they have strong feelings (what we can call the Jerry Springer reaction).

So, OK, here’s the deal. I thought this was common knowledge, but clearly it’s not.

It’s far from rare for a creative artist in the theatre to share their royalties with someone whom they feel was key to the work’s creation. This may be a dramaturg, director, or just someone who was there to help (a spouse, friend, or partner).

This deal does not usually happen before the first day of rehearsals, particularly with projects that no one expects to make significant sums of cash – what’s the point of awarding 10% of $0? Also – the frantic time of development and rehearsal and previews is not the optimal time to discuss contractual deals.

The most famous illustration of this basic principle is Tony Kushner’s deal with Angels In America dramturg Oskar Eustis. Eustis was not granted royalties before work began – that came much, much later. And Kushner is not alone in having done this – it’s really not rare (other playwrights who have done this include Neil Simon, Craig Lucas, Terrence McNally). But it seems that there are some people who are in love with the MGM fantasy of the struggling writer, sitting alone in a garret, creating their masterwork in a vacuum, who have no one but themselves to take credit for the work. That happens, but it’s more usual to find collaboration in play when you see a hit (and rewarded collaboration, whether the public is aware of the details or not, to boot).

Larson died the night of the final preview; his friends and colleagues testified that they believe that he would have shared the enormous reward that Rent unexpectedly generated. Remember – this was expected to be only a limited far-Off-Broadway run; no one expected a long-running Broadway transfer, movie, tours. It was only when Thomson acted to remove what a judge found to be her copyrightable material from Rent that the Larson estate made a settlement upon her. The fact that a significant percentage of the show was found to be hers is the salient fact here - it was found to be her work, but obtusely, it was also found that royalties were not due to that percentage of the show. However, she could remove it, since it was hers. The family chose instead to pay her, rather than have a truncated Rent.

I have to accept that some of you are as receptive to this info as a deceased goat would be; you think you know everything there is to know, and you refuse to hear anything that may be contrary to the opinion you've chosen. But there you are, take it or leave it. I think I'll take a nice walk to get rid of the nasty whiff of Joey's bitchiness. He's much more fun when taking about Follies (a topic over which I will never disagree with him).
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#62
Posted: 7/13/11 at 10:38am
I swooped in with moral outrage? And I have strong feelings about it?

You got all that from "I don't know a thing about the subject, but . . ."?
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#63
Posted: 7/13/11 at 11:05am
newintown, what exactly do you think will resolve these unrelated conflicts that you have introduced to a gossip thread about something the Larson estate may or may not have said about the current revival of RENT?

Should maybe you open a Kickstarter page for Lynn Thomson and urge whoever buys a ticket to the show to give her a dollar? Should you organize a cancer walk team? How about organizing a fundraiser for politicians who want single-payer universal health care?

I do think you should look a little more carefully at the tone of your posts, before criticizing how others come across. What I remember most was Anthony Rapp, in his book, saying people knew Lynn had helped out but that they were shocked that she filed a suit before Larson was cold in the grave, while his family was still grieving. Even though the matter was settled, apparently you think now is the time for something to be done about it.

So what is to be done?
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#64
Posted: 7/13/11 at 11:25am
Thanks for the calmly worded reply, Namo - "what is to be done" is a good question. I don't have an answer. I haven't spoken with Thomson in years, and don't even know how she is. Although she couldn't reveal the precise terms, I believe her settlement ultimately left her comfortable.

I had no intention of protracting this discussion - I posted a comment on the Larson family as a response to the original post about their possible objections to a new production of the show, based upon what I knew about them through familiarity with some key players years ago.

But, as so often happens here and on that other board, a few self-important figures reacted from an uninformed yet self-righteous position. I see now that it would probably have been best to close the door at that point.
Updated On: 7/13/11 at 11:25 AM
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#65
Posted: 7/13/11 at 11:28am
In real life, as in drama, when characters introduce new plot points, they have an end goal in mind.
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#66
Posted: 7/13/11 at 11:28am
I felt myself hit that button twice. But it was too late. Double post.
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Updated On: 7/13/11 at 11:28 AM
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#67
Posted: 7/13/11 at 11:49am
a judge found to be her copyrightable material from Rent that the Larson estate made a settlement upon her

Again you are WRONG.

The judge did NOT find that any of her material was copyrightable. Read the proceedings.

Thomson sued to be considered a coauthor and lost. Then she sued to be able to remove her copyrighted material, but the appeals judge ruled that since it was ruled that she was a writer-for-hire, there was no copyrighted material for her to withdraw.

She never sued for "copyright infringement," so the court never was asked to rule on whether or not she had copyrightable material in the final script. (Only an author or coauthor could actually have copyrightable material, not a dramaturg.)

As a matter of fact, both judges used another interesting case (actress Clarice Taylor vs. author Alice Childress) to comment that suggestions made to a copyrightable work by "overreaching" contributors do not carry their own copyright:

[That] would extend joint author status to many persons who are not likely to have been within the contemplation of Congress. For example, a writer frequently works with an editor who makes numerous useful revisions to the first draft, some of which will consist of additions of copyrightable expression. Both intend their contributions to be merged into inseparable parts of a unitary whole, yet very few editors and even fewer writers would expect the editor to be accorded the status of joint author, enjoying an undivided half interest in the copyright in the published work.

What she did was pretty distasteful. It also showed disrespect to the contributions of Michael Greif and Jim Nicola. The Dramatists Guild sided with the Larsons, because it would have been open season on playwrights if she had won. Everyone would have a right to a piece of them, and the fundamental right of the author would be forever diminished by precedent.

In the footnotes to the proceedings, the appeals judge quoted the Childress judge with this final statement:

Th[e] equal sharing of rights [mandated by joint authorship] should be reserved for relationships in which all participants fully intend to be joint authors. The sharing of benefits in other relationships involving assistance in the creation of a copyrightable work can be more precisely calibrated by the participants in their contract negotiations regarding division of royalties or assignment of shares of ownership of the copyright
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#68
Posted: 7/13/11 at 11:54am
And the judge's footnotes contain the answer to the Billy Aronson mystery!

2. During that time, from 1989-1991, the names of both Larson and Aronson appeared on the title pages of Rent drafts (in identical typeface). After their separation, Larson moved Aronson's credit from the title page to the final page of the Rent scripts.

3.Larson agreed that Aronson would be compensated at "the standard going rate" if the play ever made any money. Aronson later transferred his copyrights to the heirs of Jonathan Larson in exchange for four percent of the authors' share of royalties.


Billy Aronson is a gentleman and a professional--and a very rich man!
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#69
Posted: 7/13/11 at 12:05pm
Are you guys practicing for a panel version of Swift Justice now that Nancy Grace is gone?
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#70
Posted: 7/13/11 at 12:09pm
"an uninformed yet self-righteous position"

How does quoting from actual court documents equate to "uninformed"?

And the tone of self-righteousness seems to have been introduced by the one commenting on the Larson family.
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#71
Posted: 7/13/11 at 12:09pm
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#72
Posted: 7/13/11 at 1:33pm
I think most of us can agree that The Larsons family are not pure evil so back on topic... The show is different and apparently has a playground like set, I don't know what this means, but I'm excited to find out, as long as it isn't the exact same show as before... Actually I'd love it even if it was the same, but change is always good
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#73
Posted: 7/13/11 at 2:59pm
Every time someone posts on this thread, Saint Jonathan weeps and somewhere a kitty gets HIV.
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#74
Posted: 7/14/11 at 9:06am
Doesn't the estate have to sign off on everything? I suspect that the Larson's knew what changes would be made and approved them.


Just give the world Love.
Updated On: 7/14/11 at 09:06 AM
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Larsons unhappy with RENT#75
Posted: 7/14/11 at 9:18am
it's all conjecture on your part.
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