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The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Royalties & Permissions

Audition material should be selected from the following:

  1. Public domain (non-copyrighted material).
  2. Material written for or by the candidate.
  3. Material for which permission of the rights holder can be secured.

Written proof of permission from the rights holder must be presented at each level (regional and national) of Irene Ryan Auditions for any material that has not previously been designated as available (see rights holders' information below).

As with any copyrighted material, if you wish to use non-dramatic source material for your audition (i.e. a novel, short story, etc.), you must obtain written permission from the author or rights holder if required to perform the piece.

Once you receive written permission (if applicable), you must provide A COPY to the Irene Ryan coordinator at the regional festival auditions (keep the original secured in your possession at festival, as this is a legal document entitling you to perform the piece.)

Any royalty fee(s) for material performed in the auditions is the sole responsibility of the nominee. Be advised that if a royalty fee is required, it must be paid prior to receiving written permission to perform the material. Please plan accordingly.

Performers should seriously consider that when internal cuts and the realignment of text are made to scenes or monologues, there is the risk of significantly altering the interpretation of the dramatic idea of the play and the author's intent. Most authors would not support such an action, even for an audition. Both coaches and students are reminded that they assume the liability should any rights holder choose to formally complain about the way the material is used.


To find the publisher of a particular play, go to the following website:

Once you ascertain who the publisher is, then go to the section for that publisher (below) and follow the instructions specific to that company. If the play you have selected is handled by an agency not listed below, you must contact that agent to secure written permission to perform your selection.

Public Domain Material

(non-copyrighted material) – i.e. the works of Shakespeare and other classic plays written pre-twentieth century whose copyright has expired. Many plays that may be in the public domain in their original language are not in the public domain when translated into English. If you wish to perform a translation of a play not originally written in English, make certain that the rights are available for that translation and, if necessary, obtain written permission and pay whatever royalty is required. For more information about plays in the public domain, go here:

Smith and Kraus

Most Smith and Kraus collections and monologue books include a blanket permission statement for audition use. These collections provide a loophole if you're desperate to perform a piece listed on Sam French's Red Light List of plays. Remember, however, the particular piece you're interested in performing MUST be found in one of these collections that include blanket permission. You must provide evidence of this at the check-in for each round at festival, so please bring the book with you.

Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.

All plays for which Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. represents the stage rights (unless designated "restricted" in the catalogue description) may be used in the Irene Ryan Auditions with no royalty or written permission required, provided the excerpt taken from the play is performed in its entirety (no internal cutting).

Samuel French

Do not send Samuel French, Inc. an application for authorization to perform at the regional festival level because Irene Ryan candidates may perform selections from any Green Light title at the regional level without written permission or paying a royalty fee. All titles on the Green Light list are available for use.

If the piece you're interested in is by one of the playwrights listed below consider it unavailable for use in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Audition; unless a specific title from one of these playwrights appears on the Green Light list.

You may use a Samuel French scene even if the play title doesn't appear on either the red or green light list IF the Samuel French play is not by one of the playwrights listed on the red light list.

However, you must e-mail for immediate approval. Be sure to include your name, the name of the piece you're requesting, and your school affiliation. In this case you do not have to wait for permission to proceed at the regional festival level.

A royalty payment is required only if you advance to the National Scholarship Finals in Washington, D.C.

Click Here for Samuel French Green Light list.

Click Here for Samuel French Red Light list.

Dramatists Play Service, Inc.

Do not send Dramatists an application for the Regional festival level. You may perform selections from any Dramatist play, except the works of Edward Albee & Samuel Beckett, at the regional level without written permission or paying a royalty fee. However, if you progress to the National finals at the Kennedy Center, you must apply for and receive written permission from Dramatists to perform the piece(s). This must be a quick turnaround, so don't delay if advanced to national finals!

Dramatic Publishing

Any play appearing on the pre-approved material list (link below) by Dramatic Publishing Company. Any of their properties not appearing on this list are to be considered red-light.

The nominee is expected to pay a $15 royalty per piece if they make the regional audition's final round.

Click Here for Dramatic Publishing Approved material for use in Ryan Scholarship Auditions.


Permission will be granted with no royalty fee for all of the playwrights represented by ICM who are not handled by any of the major houses (Samuel French, Dramatists Play Service, etc.). To use a piece from an unpublished work (but it appears in a collection for example), a letter requesting permission, and a subsequent response by ICM, is required. No royalty will be necessary, but permission is required.

40 West 57th Street
New York, New York 10019

(212) 556-5600

Playwrights Guild of Canada

All properties are available with no royalty charges, and no written permission is required.

PGC 54 Wolseley St. 2nd Floor
Toronto, Ontario
Canada, M5T 1A5

(416) 703.0201
(416) 703.0059 (fax)


Do Not Call Tams-Witmark! If your school has an ASCAP license, you should be covered by the license as representatives of your school (check with an appropriate faculty member for clarification). If not, you may not perform the piece.

Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc.
560 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10022

(212) 688-5656 (fax)

Music Theatre International (MTI)

If your school has an ASCAP license, you should be covered by the license as representatives of your school. Check with an appropriate faculty member for clarification.

Rodgers & Hammerstein Music Library

The creation and use of an excerpt or any other adaptation of a copyrighted work without the express authorization of the authors or their agents is a violation of copyright law. When available, R & H is happy to license excerpts, scene cuttings or individual songs for participation in theatre auditions and festivals. You must advise R&H of the nature of the specific excerpt or cutting, along with the dates, place and number of performances to be presented in the initial audition and, if approved, R&H will issue the appropriate Special License. They ask that you keep them informed of subsequent auditions should you move on to the next level, and they will amend the license accordingly. They cannot, under any condition, grant permission to omit the score from one of our musicals for presentation as a straight play.

If your school has an ASCAP license, you should be covered by the license as representatives of your school. Check with an appropriate faculty member for clarification. Otherwise, you must obtain written permission from:

R&H Theatricals
229 West 28th St. 11th floor
New York, NY 10001

(800) 400-8160
(212) 268-1245 (fax)

Playscripts, Inc.

Currently, royalties are waived for the performance of "excerpts lasting less than 10 minutes" at adjudicated school theatrical festivals or auditions, unless otherwise noted. These particular performances, and only these, are automatically authorized by the playwright when you purchase books from Playscripts. (Note: Any other cuttings must receive prior approval from Playscripts.)

Judy Boals, Inc.

All properties are available with no royalty charge, and no written permission is required.

208 West 30th Street Rm
401 New York, NY 10001

(212) 868-1068
(212) 868-1052

Theatrical Rights Worldwide

Permission for the Irene Ryan Auditions will be granted with no royalty fee for all musicals represented by Theatrical Rights Worldwide. However you are required to use copyrighted, authorized sheet music. Any music not commercially available can be purchased by contacting TRW. Sheet music from the piano/conductor score can be purchased for $10 each per performer (includes shipping and handling).

You must also request a festival license using any of the contact information below. When making your request, include the name of the festival, the song(s) you are looking to perform, the full name(s) of the performer(s), the date(s), the location of the festival, and your email address. You will then receive a license via e-mail which you must sign and return before receiving permission.

Theatrical Rights Worldwide
1359 Broadway, Suite 914
New York, NY 10018

646-736-3235 (direct)
866-378-9758 (toll free)
212-643-1322 (fax)


Monologues and scenes/excerpts lasting ten minutes or less taken from plays published by Theatrefolk may be performed for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships without royalty.