One of my frequent clients, is the Theatre Department. I get jobs to do posters for the shows. This is usually fun, and cool, because I get to do research and maybe try some new painting technique or something. Well, the poster that I am working on right now is for Oklahoma! I only put the exclamation point because it is the title, not because I wanted to exclimate it.
Up until just a week ago I was really excited about finishing this project. I went out with a friend, we took some great pictures, I learned to like the play itself (via the 1999 Royal Theatre Version starring Hugh Jackman), I get along really well with the director and we had discussed a vision and we were both there, all these good things happened in my journey to producing this poster. Then in it's nearly final state, after Richard and I agreed on a compostion, I get the info that has to go on the poster... you know usually it's just this play is being produced under the permission of... blah blah blah... you give the playwrite credit, you give the dates... well this is Oklahoma! And all of your artistic rights have just been stripped from you. This is what the Rodgers and Hammerstein licsencing company sent us:
Author Billing Credit:
You agree to set forth the following credits on the title page in all programs, and on all house boards, displays, heralds, posters, fliers, and on all other advertising and promotion in connection with your production of the Play.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's 75%
Music by RICHARD RODGERS 75%*
Book and Lyrics by OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN 75%*
Based on the play "Green Grow the Lilacs" by Lynn Riggs 37-1/2%
Original Dances by Agnes de Mille 56-1/4%
* Immediatly following the title and in no event less than hat of the largest, most prominent credit given any other person.
So here is what I think. I think that credit should be given where credit is due. Yes, Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the show, yes, it is called OKLAHOMA, but why on earth is Agnes de Mille still getting credit for the dances that we are not even doing.
What kind of Hierarchy are those percentages. They might know how to write a hit musical that is celebrating it's 60th anniversary this year, but they do NOT know how to design a poster.