Broadway Licensing will add play and musical licensor Dramatists Play Service, Inc. to its slate of brands, the two companies announced today. The move will see both brands continue to exist, with DPS's library of musicals—including The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Grey Gardens, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch—moving to the Broadway Licensing header and DPS becoming a licensing house for strictly plays.
The first new acquisition under the new conglomeration will be Keenan Scott II's Thoughts of a Colored Man, currently scheduled to make its Broadway debut in the upcoming season. The work joins DPS' existing play catalog, which includes works of such playwrights as Lynn Nottage, Arthur Miller, Paula Vogel, Tennessee Williams, Katori Hall, Ayad Akhtar, and Edward Albee.
The deal also includes initiatives to develop new and existing works. A $2.5 million fund will support development of and rights to new works, and an advisory committee will be formed to consult on expanding opportunities for new writers and underlying rights holders. Inaugural committee members include Lynn Nottage, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and Michael Korie.
Broadway Licensing will also create a new internal content development division, Stageworks Productions, with the goal of extending the life and value of existing works by creating new copyrights.
"Dramatists Play Service is, by any measure, one of the jewels in the theatrical licensing and publishing crown," says Broadway Licensing CEO and President Sean Cercone. "Guided since 1936 by a mission to foster national opportunities for playwrights, DPS has never wavered from that aim. I couldn’t be prouder to welcome DPS into the Broadway Licensing family, and I’m excited for what the future holds and the tremendous impact our collective team will bring to the industry."
"During this time of unprecedented peril for our industry, this deal safeguards the future of Dramatists Play Service," adds DPS Acting President David J. Moore. "Equally important is the range of thrilling synergistic opportunities that Sean has brought to the table, which will allow us to better serve our authors and their titles, as well as the community at large."
This acquisition follows the 2018 consolidation of Samuel French, Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatricals, Tams-Witmark, and The Musical Company (then handling the Andrew Lloyd Webber catalog) under the Concord Theatricals banner, a move that quickly changed the landscape of theatrical licensing from a variety of relatively small companies into a dramatically smaller playing field dominated by a select few powerhouses. In addition to Broadway Licensing, the vast majority of plays and musicals are now handled in the US by the Cameron Mackintosh-owned Music Theatre International, Concord Theatricals, and the privately held Theatrical Rights Worldwide.