Charles Grippo

Selected Works

Comprehensive, ready to use collection of 33 model business and legal forms for the performing arts, with accompanying CD-ROM. Expanded contents include many hard to find contracts.
The first legal survival kit for anyone in the business of presenting live entertainment.
Farce - Two Acts Single set 5 males, 3 females Performance time: 110 minutes (not counting intermission)
Semi fictitious drama based on the 1958 fire at the Our Lady of the Angels Roman Catholic School on the west side of Chicago, in which 92 children and three nuns died.

Charles Grippo Blog


October 2, 2015

Tags: Self Producers, Self Produce, Playwright, Playwriting, Directors, Directing, Choreography, Choreographer, Designer, Theater, Scripts, Actors, Acting, Crowd Funding

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


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 (more…)


October 1, 2015

Tags: Musical Theater, Writing Musicals, Musicals, Chicago Writers Bloc

A big thank you to all of you who attended my presentation on "The Craft of Writing Musical Theater" on September 28, 2015, under the auspices of the Chicago Writers Bloc. I hope you found it helpful and informative for your own writing. I enjoyed talking to you afterwards. Thank you also for your feedback.

Federal Judge Rules "Happy Birthday"Lyrics are Public Domain

September 22, 2015

Tags: "Happy Birthday To You, " "Happy Birthday, " Federal Court, Judge George H. King, Patty Smith Hill, Mildred J. Hill, Warner/Chappell, "Good Morning to All, " Copyright, Public Domain, Jennifer Nelson, Summy Co., "Happy Birthday, "

On Tuesday, September 22, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge George H. King ruled that the lyrics to "Happy Birthday To You" are not protected by copyright. The Judge held that Warner/Chappell does not have a valid claim of copyright to the lyrics to the song, which was supposedly written by two sisters Mildred J. Hill and Patty (more…)


September 14, 2015

Tags: Playwright, playwriting, theater, director, directing, collaboration, collaborate, theater law, theatre, co-author, copyright, copyright law, royalties

A playwright told me a director had offered to "collaborate" with him on his newest play. My friend was excited because this particular director had strong connections with a major regional theater. He hoped the director could get the regional to mount the world premiere of the show, which would jump start his career.

I brought him down to reality. "People use the terms 'collaboration' and 'collaborate' very loosely in the theater," I said. "What exactly does this director mean by 'collaborate' with you?" (more…)

The Craft of Writing Musical Theater

September 10, 2015

Tags: Writing Musical Theater, Chicago Writers Bloc, Stephen Schwartz, Winnie Holzman, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Amanda Green, Georgia Stitt, Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Stephen Sondheim, Adam Guettel, Musical Book, Libretto, Characters in Scene and Song, The 11 O'clock Number, Dramatists Guild, Dramatists Guild National Conference

I will be presenting a special program "The Craft of Writing Musical Theater" on September 28, 2015, under the auspices of the Chicago Writer's Bloc, at 7 p.m. at June Finfer's Playroom at 2068 W. Farwell, Chicago. Persons benefitting from this program will include book writers, composers, lyricists, directors, choreographers, actors, and anyone who wants to learn (more…)


August 12, 2015

Tags: "Happy Birthday To You", Warner/Chappell, Patti Hill, Mildred J. Hill, Irving Berlin, Jennifer Nelson, copyright, copyright renewal, public domain, Summy Company, Jessica Hill, Song Licenses, EU, European Union, summary judgment

"Can I use 'Happy Birthday To You' in my play or film without permission and payment of royalties? Is the song really in the public domain?" Over the last few weeks I've been asked those questions by so many writers and producers that I need to answer in a blog post. Why the sudden (more…)

Dramatists Guild National Conference "Internet Piracy And the Issues for Musical Theatre"

July 26, 2015

Tags: Andrew Lippa, Craig Carnelia, Composers, Lyricists, Songwriters, Sheet Music, Internet Piracy, Musical Theater, Dramatists Guild, Dramatists Guild Third National Conference, Georgia Stitt, Alan Menken, Anti-Piracy

In recent years the DG has become so concerned that Internet Piracy is affecting the incomes of its Composer and Lyricist Members that it formed the "Anti-Piracy" Committee. Co-chaired by Andrew Lippa and Craig Carnelia, the Committee is making serious efforts to combat the piracy of sheet music on the internet.

It's not hard (more…)

Copyright - Can I Do That?

July 16, 2015

Tags: Dramatists Guild, Dramatists Guild National Conference, Ralph Sevush, Deborah Murad, David Faux, Copyright, Les Miserables, Victor Hugo, Disney, Snow White, Elvis Presley, Rent, Jonathan Larsen, Trinity Rep, Actors' Equity, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Hound Dog, Public Domain, Urinetown, Dramaturg, Fairy Tales, Translations, Translator

As an entertainment law attorney, playwright, and producer, I was particularly drawn to the panel discussion "Copyright --- Can I Do That?" by Guild Attorneys David Faux, Deborah Murad, and Ralph Sevush.
Using the example of a trucker who wants to turn his life story into a play, the panelists examined the questions: Who (more…)

Dramatists Guild Third National Conference (Post 3)

July 16, 2015

Tags: Hilton Torrey Pines Resort, La Jolla California, Torrey Pines State Reserve, Balboa Park, Birch Acquarium, Del Mar Racetrack, La Jolla Playhouse, Mission Bay, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Arthur Miller, Tennesse Williams, Lillian Hellman, Neil Simon, Eugene O'Neill, DuBose Heyward, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Porgy and Bess, John Logan

Now, while waiting for the DG programming to begin, I took a reconnaissance tour around our meeting place: the Hilton Torrey Pines Resort in La Jolla, California. To tell the truth, this is a much, much nicer setting than the locations of the previous DG conferences. How could it not be? As I (more…)

Dramatists Guild Third National Conference (Post 2)

July 16, 2015

Tags: Self publishing, gender and sexuality on stage, The Color Purple, Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, juke box musicals, internet piracy, ASCAP, Linda Bloodworth-Thompson, John Logan, webseries, historical theater, diversity on stage, copyright, taxation, women writers

Well, today is the first day of the DG conference, and, as has been the case with their past conferences, this one is packed with great panels, workshops, and other activities all designed to help member playwrights, composers, and lyricists with the craft and business of writing for the theater. In fact, the biggest (more…)