Five Notable Musicals and Plays Becoming Public Domain in 2023

As of January 2023, some well-known musicals and plays stumbled into the public domain. These works of art have now become part of the public domain, meaning they can be freely used, adapted, and reproduced without the need for permission from the original authors or payment of royalties. In this editorial, we will explore five musicals and plays that have fallen into the public domain in 2023 – but we must stress the importance of understanding the complexity of copyright laws in different countries.

The first musical on our list is “Show Boat” by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. This groundbreaking musical explores themes of racial prejudice and forbidden love and was first performed in 1927. The show has since become a quintessential American classic, and its entry into the public domain means that it will be available for new adaptations and productions without the burden of copyright fees.

Another notable musical that entered the public domain in 2023 is “Babes in Toyland” by Victor Herbert and Glen MacDonough. This whimsical musical is set in Toyland and follows the adventures of Tom Tom and Mary Contrary as they try to save the land from the evil Barnaby. With its entry into the public domain, this beloved musical is now available for anyone to use, adapt, and reproduce.

“Strike Up the Band” by George and Ira Gershwin is another musical that has fallen into the public domain in 2023. This satirical musical comedy was first performed in 1927 and features memorable tunes such as “The Man I Love” and “Strike Up the Band.” The public domain status of this musical means that it will be easier for small theater groups and schools to stage productions without the high cost of royalties.

The next play on our list is “The Royal Family” by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber. This comedic play, first performed in 1927, is loosely based on the lives of the Barrymore family, a prominent acting dynasty of the time. With its entry into the public domain, this play can be revived and enjoyed by a new generation of theatergoers.

Finally, “The Cat and the Fiddle” by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach also entered the public domain in 2023. This romantic musical comedy, first performed in 1931, features some of Kern’s most memorable music and tells the story of a composer and a singer who fall in love in Paris. Its public domain status means that the musical can now be adapted and reproduced by anyone who wishes to do so.

It’s worth noting that copyright laws can vary by country, and just because a work has entered the public domain in one country does not necessarily mean it has done so in another. For example, in Australia, the public domain status of these works may differ from that of the United States. Therefore, it’s essential to do your research and ensure that you’re not infringing on any copyright laws when using any of these works.

In conclusion, the entry of these five musicals and plays into the public domain provides exciting opportunities for new productions, adaptations, and interpretations. However, it’s essential to understand the complexity of copyright laws in different countries, and to ensure that you are not violating any laws when using these works.

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