Fans of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer live sing-along, a popular touring extravaganza in which fans of the series sing and act out scenes alongside a theatrical showing of the season-six musical episode "Once More With Feeling," were distressed to learn from the sing-along's Website yesterday that the Buffy Musical has been shut down. We called Clinton McClung, who founded the Buffy Musical last year, to find out what's up.
So what happened?
I got a phone call on Tuesday night from Criterion, who is the theatrical booker for Fox’s back catalog. They said that things were looking bad, that Fox was having rights issues with the TV program being booked theatrically, and maybe the party was coming to an end. The next day Fox told Criterion that we had to stop, effective immediately.
Wait, so you had permission for this all along? We assumed this was some kind of guerilla project.
No, no, I always wanted it to be completely legit, and I cleared it legally with all the parties involved. But now Fox has revoked the whole category, all TV shows theatrically, but I think I might be the only one who is really affected by it. Now I’m unemployed and in debt.
Did you try to argue with Fox?
I have never talked to anyone at Fox, only through Criterion. They keep saying they're going to send me a letter, but I haven't seen anything in writing yet. In the film exhibition business, no one wants to put anything in writing. It’s all phone calls and verbal agreements.
Why do you think this is happening now?
I don't know. We might be a victim of our own success; we've toured around the country for a year and gotten a lot of press. I think the issue is something to do with the back-end — someone who is supposed to get paid when these things get screened wasn't, and they heard about my show, and got upset. It could have to do with the upcoming Writers Guild strike, or the Screen Actors Guild, or some electrician — I don't know.
Can you get Joss Whedon to pull some strings for you?
I hope so! Joss had already shown up at one of our L.A. shows and given his blessing. I've talked with Joss’s assistant and people who are in his camp who are outraged about this. I don't know how much pull he would have — it's his show, but Fox owns it now.
What effect has this had on you?
We had to cancel three shows in St. Louis this weekend — we'd already sold 400 tickets. And everything else, shows in Hawaii, L.A., and our New York shows on October 19 and 20.
Can this be resolved soon?
I hope so! I started an online petition so Fox can see how much support the show has. I don't really know if they plan to resolve things. They could just decide, "We don't want to do this, it's too much trouble," or they could be working it out right now. I have no idea.
Buffy Musical Shut Down (for now) [The Buffy Musical]