Broadway on Pay-Per-View? Yes, and it’s Union!

Volume CIX, No. 5May, 2009

Broadway’s on TV and it’s going to be union. Local 802 has negotiated an agreement with Broadway Worldwide, Inc., an entity that plans to do full-length pay-per-view broadcast of Broadway productions.

The organization is the inspiration of Bruce Brandwen, who negotiated an agreement under the corporate name of “Broadway Television Network” a number of years ago; this new agreement is patterned after that agreement.

Brandwen stepped forward initially to present “Gypsy,” but when the financial crisis caused that show to close before he could complete negotiations with all of the unions involved, he continued negotiations with Local 802 for a long-term contract.

First year scale wages start at $4,599 and increase to $4,802 in year two, $4,918 in year three and $5,180 in the final year of the agreement.

Other provisions include:

  • Doubling pays 25 percent for the first double and 10 percent for each additional.
  • Leaders and contractors earn double scale; associate conductors earn 30 percent.
  • Synthesizer players earn 25 percent and concertmasters receive the same premium that they receive in the show up to a maximum of 25 percent.
  • Music prep musicians earn 60 percent of Broadway scale for the first use and 40 percent for second use, including DVD release.

One improvement over the original Broadway Television Network contract was in the language for re-use. The BTN contract allowed pay-per-view over an unlimited time period for the original payment. The agreement with Broadway Worldwide limits pay-per-view under the first payment to three years. Re-use language itself has also been clarified.

Management announced in the latter period of negotiations that its first projects were anticipated to include the current productions of “West Side Story,” “Hair” and “Guys and Dolls.” 

The agreement was negotiated by President Mary Landolfi, Recording Supervisor Jay Schaffner, Broadway Theatre Committee Chair Tino Gagliardi and Co-Chair Wally Usiatynski, Theatre Committee member Bill Rohdin and Assistant to the President Joel LeFevre. (“Gypsy” orchestra members Marilyn Reynolds and John Winder withdrew after it became apparent that the show would not be recorded by the employer prior to closing.)