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Disney Theatrical Licensing

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a performance license?

    After a writer or writers (book writer, composer, lyricist) create a show, their work is copyrighted because it is intellectual property that they own (just like an inventor creates and patents a machine that she then "owns" and can then sell to other people to use). The copyright allows the writers to maintain control over their work and who performs it and how. A producer (like you) needs to obtain the performance rights (a license) to a copyrighted show, usually for a specified fee, before it can be produced. Music Theatre International (MTI) is responsible for licensing Disney titles and for preventing unlicensed productions as well as unauthorized changes to the script (book, music and lyrics). Presenting a show without a performance license is both unethical and illegal and may result in criminal punishment under the law. So, in order to keep everything fair, legal and fun, MTI's representatives will guide you through every step of the licensing process.

  • Under what circumstances do I need to purchase a performance license?

    A performance license is needed whenever a show is presented in front of an audience, no matter how few people, and whether or not admission is charged. This includes classroom presentations, benefits, or private shows. Despite other versions that may exist, the materials supplied by MTI are the only authorized stage version of the Disney source material. The use of any other version is illegal.

  • What does the price for a performance license include?

    Please contact MTI for pricing details. For Disney JR. and KIDS shows the cost includes the licensing fee as well as a ShowKit. Your ShowKit includes the following materials:

    Director's Guide - a step-by-step manual for directing the show
    20 Student Books - includes an introduction to theatre and a script (libretto) with interpolated music
    Piano/Vocal Score - for the music director and rehearsal/performance pianist
    Accompaniment and Guide Vocal CD - for use in rehearsal and performance, includes fully orchestrated accompaniment for every number, all scene change music, and tracks with reference vocals to help children learn the music
    Choreography DVD - suggests choreography for major production numbers
    20 Family Matters - an introduction to theatre for parents
    Production Handbook - a general step-by-step guide to producing a show
    Our full-length shows (AIDA, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL) are priced according to type of venue, the number of performances and ticket prices. When you fill out an (unbinding) licensing application (available at MTI), an MTI representative will calculate the price for your proposed production and send you a booking agreement with the associated price.

    For Full-Length shows the cost includes the licensing fee as well as the following:

    30 Libretto/Vocal Books
    2 Piano/Conductor Scores
    Orchestrations for an 11 piece orchestra

  • Do we have to pay for the whole show if we are only going to perform parts of it?

    Yes. The only way to obtain a legal version of a Disney show is to pay for the rights to the entire show. Also, the material you license is covered by copyright law, which protects the integrity of the authors' work. Any changes to the show as provided in the materials, including cuts, need to be approved by your licensing representative.

  • Do we have to pay for the rights if we don’t charge admission?

    Yes. By licensing the rights to a show you are paying for the privilege to use the intellectual property that the writers have created, regardless of any benefit you may derive from producing it. Any free or benefit performances are taken into account when fees are quoted for full-length titles. Disney JR. and KIDS shows can be licensed for a flat rate that includes materials and the right to unlimited performances of the show for one year.

  • How do we obtain a license for a Disney show?

    If this is your first time licensing a show, we have created a step-by-step instructional, LICENSING 101 – click here.

  • Can we peruse material from different shows before selecting one or obtain some sample information to show parents or administrators?

    Yes. Perusal request forms are available through MTI's website with a shipping fee of $10 for each package. You may select up to three titles to be included in your package and you may keep them for three weeks. Disney's JR. and KIDS collections also come with a sampler audio CD and a list of the characters and their vocal ranges. Perusal information may also be requested on the licensing application.

    Please note: Receipt of a perusal does not necessarily indicate that a title is available for production. Make sure you have received a valid Performance License before proceeding with any announcements, advertising or production plans.

  • How far in advance should I apply for a license?

    The sooner, the better! MTI accepts applications up to one year in advance. We recommend that you apply for a license as soon as you're interested in doing a Disney show. Of course, the process of obtaining a license is expedited by your speedy return of the contract and payment.

  • What do I do if I want to change the dates or a detail of my production?

    Any changes that depart from the information filled out on your licensing application must be submitted to MTI in writing immediately as they may affect the availability and conditions of the license.

  • I’ve never directed or mounted a play or musical before - HELP!

    MTI's website has useful information about each Disney show that will help you select the perfect show for your school or theatre group. All Disney JR. and KIDS shows come with a ShowKit that includes extensive step-by-step materials that will help you create your production. The Director's Guide offers advice on everything from how to create a rehearsal schedule to fun games to play with your cast to help them develop characters. The Choreography DVD provides suggestions for how to block and choreograph major musical numbers. The Accompaniment & Guide Vocal CD contains all of the musical accompaniment for the production and includes tracks with reference vocals, which your cast can use to learn their parts.

  • Can we make any changes to the script such as adding more characters or adding or cutting a song?

    No. When you obtain the rights to do a show, you are agreeing to mount the show according to the script (book, music and lyrics) you are provided with. Making changes to this script is going against the authors' intentions for the show and is unfair to both the authors and the material. In the event that changes are made, your license may be revoked and you will lose the rights to perform the show at all. Please remember that when you acquire a license, you are agreeing to use your artistic vision to bring the show to life as the authors originally conceived it.

  • What other theatrical resources do you offer?

    MTI has an array of Theatrical Resources available for certain shows on their website including Study Guides, Logo Packs, Reference Recordings, OrchEXTRA, Transpositions on Demand, Logo T-Shirts,Sound Effects CDs, and Video Licenses.

  • We really want to put on a Disney musical, but we don’t have any funding. Do you have any suggestions or tips?

    The Director’s Guide that comes with your Showkit provides a breakdown of expenses and will help you plan your budget.

  • Can I record my child’s theatre’s production?

    A school or organization must obtain a video license from MTI before any individual records the production. Otherwise, video recording under all circumstances is prohibited. A separate video license form comes with the licensing contract, which you may fill out and return along with the contract.