Music Theatre International

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Music Theatre International, often abbreviated MTI, is a theatrical licensing agency based in New York City. The League of American Theatres and Producers calls MTI "A leader in the theatrical licensing industry."[1]


MTI was founded in 1952 by American composer and lyricist Frank Loesser and orchestrator Don Walker.[2] Today, MTI is the leading international dramatic licensing agency, helping composers, lyricists and book writers (and their estates) perpetuate and profit from their work.[3] It licenses over 15,000 productions each year in the United States and Canada and has licensed productions in over sixty other countries. It licenses shows for professional productions as well as amateur productions in schools and community theaters, and supplies scripts, musical materials, and other theatrical resources.

Along with the licensing rights to Loesser's works, the company also holds production rights to numerous Broadway, Off-Broadway, and West End musicals, including almost all of Stephen Sondheim's shows. Many of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history are licensed by MTI including Les Misérables, Beauty and the Beast and Fiddler on the Roof.[4] Others include, to name a few, Annie, The Fantasticks, Godspell, Guys and Dolls, Seussical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Legally Blonde, Jekyll and Hyde, Little Shop of Horrors, The Most Happy Fella, Miss Saigon, The Music Man, My Favorite Year, Pajama Game, Rent, Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, The Drowsy Chaperone, and West Side Story.[5]

The company also prepares and licenses "Junior" musicals – shortened versions of popular musicals simplified, and with appropriate language for younger performers, eliminating smoking, drinking and other concepts and activities deemed inappropriate for young performers.[6] Its most popular musical in recent years has been a stage adaptation of the Disney Channel mega-hit High School Musical. The sequel to that film, High School Musical 2, is available for adaptation as well. MTI also has a Social website for youth called MTI ShowSpace.

Musical types[edit]

MTI currently holds seven types of musicals one can license.

  • MTI Show: These are shows from various types of theater such as Broadway. These include musicals as Ragtime, Ain't Misbehavin', and Seussical.
  • Broadway Junior: These sixty minute musicals have been adapted for middle school kids to perform. Any subject matter deemed inappropriate have been cut. It also is reduced to one act. These include junior versions of Annie, Fiddler On The Roof, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and The Music Man.
  • Broadway Kids: These thirty minute musicals have been specially adapted for elementary kids to perform. These musicals have been made exclusively for the Kids Collection. Such musicals include Winnie The Pooh and 101 Dalmatians.
  • Musicals From The Disney Collection: Consists of musicals originally produced by Disney.
  • School Editions: These are Broadway musicals that have been adapted for high school kids to perform. These musicals have reduced certain subject matter, orchestration, and more. A School Edition of the Broadway hit Avenue Q is currently in the making. Such School Editions include Rent, Sweeney Todd, and Les Misérables.
  • Theatre For Young Audiences: These seventy minute musicals have been adapted for adults to perform for children. The difference is that the cast requirement is small (usually 6-12).
  • Concert Library: This collection has Broadway songs adapted for concerts.
  • Theatre on the Edge: These are musicals that "move audiences to the edge of their seats with excitement and anticipation". These musicals tend to have adult themes. These musicals include Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Caroline, Or Change, and Next to Normal.

Key executives[edit]

Freddie Gershon, Chairman
Drew Cohen, President
John Prignano, Senior Operations Officer
Carol Edelson, Sr. VP., Licensing
Peter Gerstheimer, Chief Financial Officer
Brian O'Sullivan, Director of Amateur Licensing
Larry Lees, Director of Music, Materials and Product Development

Rating system[edit]

MTI uses a rating system that determines the content in the musical and it is shown on their website. The ratings are as follows:

Rating Description
G Subject matter is appropriate for most audiences. This includes the Junior versions of musicals, Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls, and Seussical.
PG Contains some subject matter or language that either is considered mature or that might be deemed inappropriate for some audience members. This includes Les Misérables and Into the Woods.
R Contains subject matter or language that is not suitable for children or may not be appropriate for all audiences. This includes Avenue Q and Miss Saigon


  1. ^ "Member Links". The Broadway League. Retrieved March 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ Loesser, Susan, A Most Remarkable Fella: Frank Loesser and the Guys and Dolls in His Life, Hal Leonard Corp. New York, 1993, pp. 228-29.
  3. ^ Information from University of North Texas libraries[dead link]
  4. ^ Hernandez, Ernio (2008-01-15). "Long Runs on Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  5. ^ Profile of MTI[dead link]
  6. ^ Howitz, Simi (May 14, 2004). "The Right(s) Stuff - Acquiring Production Rights for Plays and Musicals". p. 5. Retrieved March 29, 2011. 
  7. ^ "MTI Welcomes Deborah Hartnett as Director of Business and Legal Affairs" (Press release). Music Theatre International. April 16, 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2011. 

External links[edit]