Playwright kills play over lack of profanity

Daily Herald, 8 August 2003

Article Summary:

"A local theater has learned the hard way that one must do what Simon says."

Grove Theatre owner Gayliene Omary cancelled Neil Simon's play "Rumors" after "someone" reported the theater for planning to perform the comedy without the profanity. On July 29th Samuel French Inc, a firm that handles copyrights and royalties for many plays and musicals, sent a letter to the theater saying, "If any changes have been made during the rehearsal process, we ask that you restore the script to the original text." Omary then requested permission to remove the profanity and received a reply from Simon's attorney saying, "You must present the play as written or not at all." The play was scheduled to open on 14 August 2003.

Some playwrights allow theaters to remove offensive dialogue, but the theaters have to ask first. Some community theaters remove profanity without asking permission, but Samuel French cannot do anything about it unless someone informs them.

"How Samuel French learned of the alterations is a mystery worthy of Agatha Christie more than Neil Simon."