The Playgoer: Off Bway & AEA

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Off Bway & AEA

New contract agreement for Off Broadway negotiated with Actors Equity.  Note what I call the "Q Clause":

Members of the Off-Broadway League may now produce shows in the Broadway Box in Off-Broadway-sized houses of 499 or less without paying a salary premium.  This would not apply to any productions that have been on Broadway within six months of the Off Broadway opening. 
As in, Avenue Q, which swiftly reopened Off Broadway after shutting down their main stem run.  AEA seems to be protecting its actors in similar situations by minimizing their pay cuts.  And given that 39 Steps will follow the same path and re-open next door to Q at the New World Stages later this looks like AEA is assuming we may not have seen the last of this phenomenon yet.

Another informative tidbit from Off B'way land:
On a weekly average, there were 13 Off-Broadway companies during the 2008-2009 and the average weekly salary was $647.
In case you're wondering, $647 a week times 52 weeks a year equals...drum roll...$33,644!

And you're lucky you work half that many weeks in a year Off Broadway.


99 said...

A) Good to know actors are as screwed as playwrights...

B) As much as I continue to dislike the "Q Clause," now that it's official, I guess it's okay.

Do the rank and file get to ratify any of this?

Playgoer said...

It's worth noting for those not so sure what defines "Off Broadway" that this includes pretty much all the major nonprofit theatres in NY. So that figure is pertinent to all the actors you see at: Playwrights Horizons, the Atlantic, New York Theatre Workshop, the Public, Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse space, Manhattan Theatre Club's City Center spaces, and Roundabout's Laura Pels space.

Yes, stars and big names can command salaries way above the minimum. But if you're just the average journeyman actor and you're lucky to have a year working at one of the companies after the other, you still might only barely break $30K for the year.

Tom Loughlin said...

The average number of work weeks for an AEA member in 08-09 was 14. $647*14=$9058.

Anonymous said...

I think you have this backwards:

It used to cost a premium to produce shows in the theater district, but now it won't. That's not a win for actors, but a win for producers.