A Great Year on Broadway
Volume 118, No. 7July, 2018
Congratulations to all of the Local 802 members who work on musicals that won a Tony this year, including “The Band’s Visit” (which won Best Musical) and “Once on This Island” (which won Best Revival). Let’s give a special shout-out to Local 802 member Jamshied Sharifi, who won the Tony for Best Orchestrations for “The Band’s Visit.” Separately, we congratulate Local 802 member Harold Wheeler, who won one of the 2018 Project1VOICE Honors. This award was created in 2016 to celebrate and honor artists whose talents continue to shape and enrich American culture. Among his other awards and nominations, Mr. Wheeler won the 2003 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations for “Hairspray.”
The Broadway League has released its end-of-year statistics. Total attendance reached almost 13.8 million and Broadway shows yielded just over $1.69 billion in grosses, making it the best attended and highest grossing season in Broadway recorded history. All new and continuing productions ran a total of 1,624 playing weeks. The season concluded with attendance up 3.9 percent, grosses up 17.1 percent, and playing weeks up 2.8 percent. Broadway attendance topped the attendance of the ten professional New York and New Jersey sports teams by over 3.5 million. During the season, 33 productions opened, which included 10 musicals (7 originals plus 3 revivals). The Broadway season is a 52-week period, running approximately from the beginning of June through the end of May.
In other Broadway news, please see our announcement of the Electronic Music Committee. This innovative group was formed to study the use of electronics on Broadway in order to make recommendations to the union. Its first project is going to be a survey, so if you’re contacted by this committee, please respond.
Finally, we learned that a new streaming network dedicated to theatre, called Stage, will launch in August. Details are sketchy, but we’ll keep you posted on how this plays out, especially if musical theatre is streamed. Currently, the only other similar musical theatre streaming service is called BroadwayHD.
As you can see from our cover, we’re featuring several stories in this issue that focus on digital rights. Local 802 and the AFM are staying on top of digital rights and copyright protection. For instance, did you know that musicians who perform on some of America’s most popular live TV shows are not paid when they appear on YouTube and network websites? The networks have agreed to pay other performers residuals when live television shows stream – but not musicians. As TV continues to move toward ad-supported streaming and online viewing, this unfair treatment must stop. The future of fair pay for television work is at risk. Please join us to flyer the public at the AFM negotiations with the TV networks at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 9 at the ABC offices at 47 West 66th Street. RSVP at http://bit.ly/RSVP709.
“ENCORES” CONTRACT APPROVED
The Local 802 Executive Board has unanimously ratified the agreement covering musicians at City Center’s “Encores! Great American Musicals.” Thanks to everyone who helped bring this negotiation to a successful conclusion.
We are pleased to welcome Joy Ilene Winkler as our new director of organizing and field services. For the last several years, Joy has worked in organizing higher education adjunct faculty and graduate assistants at NYU, Columbia University and UMass Boston. Prior to her union experience, Joy worked as a community organizer in Massachusetts working to address issues related to affordable housing and community development. At university, Joy trained as a vocalist and pianist and is thrilled to be working alongside the incredible community of musicians here at Local 802. As the director of organizing, she is excited to build member power and increase member engagement in the union. Additionally, Joy tells us that she hopes her extensive knowledge of show tunes might finally prove useful! If you have ideas about organizing or just want to say hello, you can reach Joy by e-mail message or at (212) 245-4802, ext. 157.
In last month’s article on the Labor Notes conference, one sentence implied that the employers Amy’s Bread and Tom Cat Bakery maintain a work force of 35,000 workers. The sentence should have read: “Here in New York City, there is a work force of 35,000 poorly-paid immigrant food service workers, some of whom work at employers like Amy’s Bread and Tom Cat Bakery.”