According to an Actors’ Equity Assn. spokesperson, there are roughly 79 theaters in Los Angeles that use one form of equity contract or another, a number that doesn’t include any big sit-down productions or the 40 or so theaters that sometimes use an Equity member or a guest artist or special appearance contract. Nor does it include the huge number of 99-seat productions each year (verging around 1,000, was the estimate).
"In Seattle,” the spokesperson continued, "there are 15 equity theaters and an additional 16 that sometimes use the special appearance or guest artist contracts."
I'll let Colburn work out the math. But since numbers aren’t always as persuasive as anecdotes, let me get personal about this: I moved to Los Angeles from New York, where I was fairly established as a theater editor, critic and professor. I love Seattle and admire the undeniable vitality of its theater scene. And I have a few friends up north, including Misha Berson, the theater critic for the Seattle Times. But in all honesty I can’t imagine I would have left my settled life in New York for a drama critic post in Seattle (though the beauty of the natural scenery would have made it awfully tempting).
Hey, the more the merrier, right?
But at least it's nice to know maybe stage actors can move out to LA for film/tv work and not have to give up worthy theatre entirely. Right? (Seriously, bicoastal actors, chime in.)