Talkin' Broadway
Talkin' Broadway

N.W.U. to the Rescue in Rent Appeal

On Friday, January 2, the Federal Appeals Court accepted a "friend-of-the-court" brief from The National Writers Union (the N.W.U.) in support of Lynn Thomson's Rent appeal. Attorneys in the Thomson camp are thrilled at this, since the N.W.U. brief makes it clear how the injustice that was done to Lynn, in depriving her of royalties and title page credit, is in a sense a slap in the face to creative persons everywhere.

The N.W.U., which represents over 5,000 writers across the country in all genres, argues firmly against the lower Court ruling "that a writer who expressly has been asked to add substantial copyrightable material to a work, and who does write such material, may later be denied any and all co-authorship rights, on the basis of his or her inablility to prove that his or her collaborator subjectively understood or intended that he or she would have such rights." The Writers Union bases its argument on the trial judge's findings "that Jonathan Larson expressly asked Lynn Thomson 'to write,' in a conversation during which, according to testimony credited by the Court, he asked her in essence to serve as playwright," and that Thomson not only wrote "copyrightable" material, but "was a significant force in turning the studio production script into the hit that RENT became." The N.W.U. agrees with Thomson that "the argument that dramaturgs, regardless of how much they participate in the writing of a play, cannot be allowed to drink at the same water fountain as playwrights, is without support in either the record of this case or the law."

The complete text of the N.W.U. brief, as well a statement from Tony Kushner and others, the full decision of the lower court, and other important documents of the case, can be accessed at

The appeal argument is now scheduled to be held sometime this month, on a date which has not yet been set. In related news, this January 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Great Hall at Cooper Union, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and the New York State Council On the Arts is sponsoring a forum on the subject of authorship and collaboration, featuring guest panelist Lynn Thomson and other prominent creative professionals. For further information, readers may call VLA at 319-2787.

We'll keep you posted. Score one for Lynn!

Tidbits: Well, Side Show is now history as well as a few other shows that we have been talking about. The last two performances were completely sold out. At the matinee a theatergoer crashed the joint and sat on the steps and cried in her toilet tissue handkerchief. A guest of the Nerderlanders to boot! You can read all about it this Thursday in Christina's World.

Also on the Side Show front, supposedly, on Monday, Jan. 5th, producers are to meet to talk about re-opening the show in the spring. I wonder if I could attend. I have a bridge for sale. And don't miss the great article in Sunday's New York Times on Side Show, however, it wasn't in the Arts and Leisure section but in the Week In Review. It's called What the Audience Won't Watch and it's an excellent observation written by Rick Lyman. I wonder how the new John Leguizamo show will do. It begins at the Cort Theater on Jan. 20th. The title...FREAK.

The infamous Ward Morehouse III in the New York Post reports that Jerry Zaks has been called in to take over direction of The Capeman. The musical, in previews, is doing well at the box office, however, theatergoers are mum, so there is not much word of mouth. What it boils down to is that theatergoers in previews don't like to pan a show in previews, so they stick to the old saying "if you can't say something nice." Wait'll it opens, then sparks will fly. Or will the sparks be flying inside the theater at rehearsals as Morehouse hints at?

Did you catch the latest issue of InTheater? Main feature is about The Capeman and get this...The Musical Everyone's Talking About. See above.

The Life is looking for a life saver by offering low prices through Feb. 12th. The offer is good Monday through Thursday's and those $75.00 orchestra seats will only be $40.00 and other seats as low as $20.00. I thoroughly enjoyed this show and at twenty bucks you can't go wrong.

The Sound of Music begins previews on February 6th, presented by Hallmark. First Disney, then Ford; now Hallmark. Anyone see a trend here with corporate America and Broadway?

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