Theater Law:  Cases and Materials


Theater Law: Cases and Materials

Contributor Roles

William D. Henslee, Chapter



Although normally thought of in terms of its creative and artistic values, staging a play or musical involves numerous legal relationships and obligations. Accordingly, this casebook provides the first comprehensive overview of the law governing the theater industry. Among the subjects examined are the history of the theater; the practice of theater law; the creative rights of playwrights; the financial rights of producers and investors; the employment rights of directors, performers, and crew members; and the attendance rights of audiences. While principally concerned with Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, the final two chapters focus on road tours and amateur theater groups.

The casebook's 104 principal readings use the battles fought over some of Broadway's biggest shows to spark student interest and promote classroom discussion. The line-up includes such hits asAnnie, Bus Stop, Cats, Guys and Dolls, Jekyll & Hyde, Jesus Christ Superstar, Miss Saigon, My Fair Lady, Rent, South Pacific, The King and I, The Music Man, The Phantom of the Opera, The Producers,The Sound of Music, and Urinetown. Also taking turns are such notable figures as Jackie Mason, Ann Miller, Rosie O'Donnell, Eugene O'Neill, Lynn Redgrave, Neil Simon, Cicely Tyson, and Tennessee Williams.

Supplementing the principal readings are 145 notes, 28 problems, and nine appendices. While the notes and problems help students sharpen their grasp of the underlying concepts, the appendices reproduce the essential contracts used by theater lawyers. Because the chapters have been written in "stand-alone" fashion, instructors are able to rearrange them to fit their interests and time requirements.

Jarvis, Chaikelson, Corcos, Edmonds, Garon, Ghosh, Henslee, Kende, Palmer, Schultz, Scordato, and White have avoided "squib" cases, used both legal and non-legal materials, and included numerous references to secondary sources. The result is a highly-engaging work that supports both survey courses and seminars and fills the gap left by entertainment law casebooks, which tend to focus on movies and television. At the same time, it provides instructors with an opportunity to bolster their students' understanding of such fields as anti-trust law, arbitration, contracts, First Amendment law, labor and employment law, professional responsibility, and torts.



Publication Date


Document Type

Book Chapter


Carolina Academic Press


Durham, North Carolina


Antitrust and Trade Regulation | Constitutional Law | Contracts | First Amendment | Labor and Employment Law | Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility | Torts

Theater Law:  Cases and Materials