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Charles Grippo Blog

R.I.P. Samuel Roberson Jr.

Left to Right: Samuel Roberson, Jr., Dennis Zacek, Charles Grippo, Andre De Shields. (Photo Lia Chang)
I met Samuel Roberson, Jr., only last year when he directed Andre De Shields' powerful show CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P., which I co-produced with Dennis Zacek, at Victory Gardens Theatre. Watching Samuel in rehearsal, I knew I was in the presence of a creative genius. His ideas were brilliant and our  Read More 
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Using Someone Else's Song In Your Play

    Mary writes a play calling for the character of Joe to sing "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face," as he realizes he is falling in love with Sandra. In the next scene, Sandra listens to Frank Sinatra's recording of Kander and Ebb's "Theme from New York, New York," while she packs her suitcase. Meanwhile, to establish the time period of his play as the 1890's, Mary's colleague Bill has his characters sing "After The Ball." And, finally, Mary's friend Isabella wants to write a musical based on the life and career of Elton John, using his songs. All of these situations call for the use other people's material, thereby raising questions frequently asked by playwrights: Do I need permission to use these songs? When do I need to obtain permission? How can I get permission? Can the copyright owners refuse my use of their songs? Are the owners entitled to royalties? If so, how much?

    Here's a quick overview of using someone else's song in your play.  Read More 
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COPYRIGHT Q & A PART THREE

Q: What is the proper form for a notice of copyright in playscripts?
A: Any one of the following:
    "Copyright 2016 by Charles Grippo"
    "Copr. 2016 by Charles Grippo"
    "(c) 2016 by Charles Grippo"
    "Copyright (c) 2016 by Charles Grippo"
  The date should be the year  Read More 
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COPYRIGHT Q & A PART FOUR

Q: If my script is subsequently published, should I re-register it?
A: Most publishers will re-register your play, at their expense. However, in your contract, you should require two things of the publisher:
    (1) It will register the play within 3 months of publication, at its expense.
    (2) It will  Read More 
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COPYRIGHT Q & A PART TWO

Q: Where do I register my script?
A: With the United States Copyright Office, which is a division of the Library of Congress, in Washington, D.C.
Q: How do I register my play for Statutory Copyright?
A: (1) Create an account with the U.S. Copyright Office.
     (2) Read More 
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COPYRIGHT Q & A PART ONE

    I'm fed up with all of the misinformation that gets posted about copyright law as it applies to playwriting. Most of it is well intended, of course, but too much comes from non lawyers and only causes confusion.

    Look, copyright law is pretty darn complex. How complex?  Read More 
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UPCOMING PRODUCTION

I'm really excited that this summer we here at Grippo Stage Company, Inc., will have the honor of producing the world premiere of THE BEN HECHT SHOW, written and performed by James Sherman, and Directed by Dennis Zacek.

Ben Hecht was a legendary Chicago newspaperman who became a successful playwright; he co-authored the great farce THE FRONT PAGE, with Charles MacArthur. Subsequently Hecht went to Hollywood and won the first Academy Award for screenwriting. Enormously prolific, he authored, co-authored or made important contributions to such classic films as NOTHING SACRED, GUNGA DIN, GONE WITH THE WIND, STAGECOACH (1939 version), SCARFACE (the original with Paul Muni and a pre-Frankenstein monster Boris Karloff), WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939), THE FRONT PAGE --- over 70 films in all. He wrote for directors like Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Henry Hathaway, Ernst Lubitsch and Howard Hawks. Even a partial list of the stars who spoke his dialogue reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood greats: Katherine Hepburn, Clark Gable, Frederic March, John Wayne, the Marx Brothers, Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Marilyn Monroe, Laurence Olivier. In all he was nominated for the screenwriting Oscar six times and won twice. Marilyn Monroe personally selected him to ghostwrite her autobiography.

But Hecht was so much more than that. He was a fierce supporter of Jewish causes and a foe of Anti-Semitism. In the late 1930's he used his fame and money to warn against the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis; he even predicted the Holocaust. He wrote plays to raise money for Israel. He was such a staunch advocate of Israel's independence from British rule that, at one time, British movie theaters refused to play any film in which he took a part. Despite the risk to his livelihood, he never backed down. When he died, the Israeli Prime Minister traveled all the way to New York to deliver the eulogy at his funeral.  Read More 
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A SALUTE TO THE PIONEERING WOMEN OF MUSICAL THEATER

(Over the next several months I will be paying tribute to the individual women who, by sheer talent and determination, achieved great success as writers, lyricists, composers, and arrangers in the male dominated Broadway musical theater. Check back often as I post new profiles. Here is the first of the series.)

KATHERINE FAULKNER "KAY" SWIFT

THE FIRST WOMAN TO WRITE THE COMPLETE SCORE FOR A BROADWAY MUSICAL

Born April 19, 1897, the daughter of a music critic, Katherine Faulkner Swift studied  Read More 
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IN ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTIONS

Many of you have asked me why the published version of my play SEX MARKS THE SPOT, has become unavailable to purchase as new copies. There's no great mystery, as some of you have wondered. The facts are simple.
SEX MARKS THE SPOT, my two act farce about a politician trying to cover up  Read More 
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EVERY ARTIST SHOULD SELF PRODUCE AT LEAST ONCE

Every artist should self produce at least once, if he's really serious about being in the theater.

Why?

PLAYWRIGHTS: A playwright may wait months, even years, before a theater accepts or (more likely) rejects her script. Many theaters never respond to scripts. Many producers won't even read unsolicited plays. ( I won't.) If the script  Read More 
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