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
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
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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