Chapter 4 (19 Unions)
Casting directors, who are hired on as consultants to help theatrical directors weed through the thousands of potential actors they might have to audition under Actors’ Equity rules, are the only major creative staff not protected by a union, even though other unions like ATPAM (Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers) have invited them in earlier years to organize and join.
Very recently, a group of casting directors have joined Teamster Local 817 and have written to the Broadway League (representing Producers and Theatre Owners) for recognition in the negotiation process. The Broadway League is reported to have responded with a firm no.
We’ll see. Could this be Broadway’s 20th union?
Chapter 10 (Investing and Producing: “Rebecca” lawsuit concludes)
Not sure where to file this news within the context of our Table of Contents, but it is significant to learn that the Producers of the ill-fated musical “Rebecca” that shut down operations one day before going into rehearsal, has both won and lost their lawsuit against the show’s press representative.
The Press Agent was ordered to pay $90,000 in damages to the Producers who claim to owe their original investors millions since the money was never legally available for use on the production. NYS law says you must have the full capitalization/investment in the bank before going into rehearsal. After discovering that its major investor was a con artist (currently in jail) and another investor never existed, the press agent secretly warned a new investor that this production was in trouble, thereby losing the new investor’s funding.
Obviously there are many, many more details to this story, but the biggest loss is that the option to produce the musical on Broadway has expired and therefore there will be no future production by these producers…ever.
Chapter 13 (Box office)
2017 stats show that while many staples (food, clothing, cellphones, computers, etc.) have come down in cost over the past 15 years, the biggest increases are found in theatre ticket prices, transportation, and toll charges into Manhattan. Perhaps that is why there is a drop in the number of suburbanites attending Broadway theater.
Chapter 15 (Actors’ Equity and diversity)
Furthering the data offered in our book, we now quote from the 2017 casting report compiled by Actors’ Equity Association.
In brief, Equity east coast membership of 32,193 is equally divided in terms of gender: 49.6% female/50.4% male. However, 60% of all principal contracts (for leading and featured roles) went to men, 40% to women.
In terms of ethnicity and race, 71% of all principal contracts (for leading and featured roles) went to Caucasian actors, 8 percent to African-American actors, 2 percent to Hispanic and 1.5% to Asian-American actors. 74% of all stage management jobs went to Caucasians.