Depeche Mode

The producer of “Playing the Angel: The Musical” — which was to have been based around Depeche Mode songs such as “Personal Jesus” and “Walking in My Shoes” — has pulled the plug on the project, citing “miscommunication and misunderstanding” over his rights to use the band’s music.

Writer and producer Adrian Buckle, of the Unifaun Theatre Co. on the Mediterranean island of Malta, this afternoon updated his Facebook page to say he had “canceled the musical PLAYING THE ANGEL. NO AUDITIONS WILL BE HELD.” He also commented on Slicing Up Eyeballs’ original post about “Playing the Angel,” writing “following some crossed wired communication I find I have to shelve the plans for this musical.”

In a follow-up e-mail to Slicing Up Eyeballs, Buckle elaborated on the issues with the musical, which appear to stem from an article about “Playing the Angel” in the Times of Malta last week that reported Buckle had “acquired the rights to use songs from the Essex band’s back catalogue” — a statement, it turns out, that isn’t quite true.

Buckle writes:

“I was told that no rights are required to perform faithful cover versions of songs in a live setting and that the onus is on the venue to have a valid (Performing Rights Society) license to cover the performance of copyrighted material. This is what I intended to do. I made arrangements for a valid PRS license but it seems that this fact was interpreted by the paper that interviewed me as having obtained a green light from the band or someone representing it. This creates an uncomfortable situation which makes me prefer not to pursue this project.”

Buckle was scheduled to hold auditions for “Playing the Angel” — named after Depeche Mode’s 2005 album — on June 27, and the musical was set to open on Malta next March. The producer last week told the that “Playing the Angel,” which also was to have included songs such as “Just Can’t Get Enough, “It’s No Good,” “Everything Counts” and “People are People,” was to be “a new kind of musical.”

In his e-mail, Buckle writes, “It was a case of miscommunication and misunderstanding. It was a genuine mistake and is much regretted. I wanted to honour the band whose music I grew up listening to, but now, since I am not sure that all permissions are in order, I feel that I would be doing the band a disservice.”

As for Depeche Mode, the band has not made any statements regarding the musical.

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