Actors’ Equity & Theater Producers Have Some Questions to Answer about Touring Contracts

Logo-Actors-EquityOne of the actors’ unions is heating up with a fight about contracts and there are quite a few people who are angry about the direction it is headed. Actors’ Equity union, which represents theater performers on Broadway and across the United States, has made concessions on contracts for two big upcoming national tours.

Kinky Boots and Newsies are setting out on their first national tours, but they are using a tiered contract where the weekly salary is only in the $1,000 range. For performers who have worked a first national tour before, it is a huge decrease in salary from the full production contract they have worked under in the past. A full production contract currently pays about $1,800 a week and shows like Wicked and The Lion King fall under those plans.

However, this is a trend that actors want to stop because Memphis and Chicago, both Tony Award-winning musicals, are using tiered contracts. If it continues in this direction, actors salaries will continue to be affected.

Producers feel that their hands are tied because of their relationship with the regional theaters and touring houses. If the show only runs a week or two, certain financial payments have to be guaranteed in order for the tour to run a profit.

On the flip side, Equity is being pressured to push for better salaries for the touring actors. The members of the union want Equity to force producers and presenters to better the financial payment guarantees in order to improve their weekly salaries.

As a result, a town hall discussion will be held on Jan. 27 to get to the heart of the matter. One point to note is that tiered contracts began in 2004 to encourage producers to mount Equity tours versus sending a tour out with non-union actors. According to Equity spokeswoman Maria Somma, these contracts are in effect until 2015.

She said, “In the latest contract we got raises in salaries and per diems and we strengthened a number of other things for actors on tour. Wages can be a concern for some, but we have heard from members from around the country who are out on tour, and they’re satisfied with the salaries and they’re ecstatic to be working in a role that they really wanted to do. The challenge for any union, I think, is to satisfy the greatest number of people. If there is dissatisfaction, the union wants to know why, and wants to share the facts so everyone is very well-informed.”

The members have also taken to social media to speak out about this issue. Broadway actor Josh Lamon tweeted, “This meeting is vital. The  townhall meeting is set up so they can give us info. Not so WE can SPEAK. Today’s for us. Make It count.”

While Equity seems to think its members are satisfied with current wages, it seems that a vocal group of the union understands that the touring contracts are headed in a questionable direction.

Via The New York Times

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/wondercon-falling-skies-intervie.jpg
WonderCon: ‘Falling Skies’ Interview with Moon Bloodgood & Seychelle Gabriel
Moon Bloodgood and Seychelle Gabriel were at WonderCon to talk about the upcoming season of TNT’s ‘Falling Skies’. The show is the story of life and survival in the wake of a catastrophic alien invasion. Noah Wyle stars as Tom Mason, a college professor who became an unlikely resistance leader. Bloodgood is Dr. Ann Glass, [...]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/wondercon-dawn-of-the-planet-of.jpg
WonderCon: ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Press Conference with Gary Oldman & Andy Serkis
Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis and Director Matt Reeves were at WonderCon to talk about the upcoming, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I loved the first one and can’t wait for this to come out. Serkis is terrific in everything and to watch him go to e-to-toe with Oldman will be a [...]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/wondercon-how-to-train-your-drag.jpg
WonderCon: ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2′ Press Conference with Jay Baruchel
Jay Baruchel and writer/director Dean DeBlois were at WonderCon to chat about the upcoming sequel, How To Train Your Dragon 2. In the press conference, they talk about the film, how Baruchel feels like he’s taken ownership of his character and a bit about his acting career. The film is in theaters June 13th.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/wondercon-sean-bean-tina-majorin.jpg
WonderCon: Sean Bean, Tina Majorino, Ali Larter & Morris Chestnut Talk ‘Legends’
The cast and executive producer of TNT’s new show, Legends held a press conference at WonderCon to talk about the show, their characters and more. Legends is based on the book by spy novelist Robert Littellon and stars Sean Bean (Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings) as Martin Odum, an undercover agent working [...]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/john-turturro-narrates-a-scene-f.jpg
John Turturro Narrates a Scene from His New FIlm, ‘Fading Gigolo’
John Turturro narrates a sequence from his film, Fading Gigolo. The film, which written and directed by Turturro and stars Woody Allen, Sharon Stone and Sophia Vergara, is about how Turturro’s character falls into the becoming a gigolo, thanks to his “pimp”, played by Allen.