Dodgers Ban Machine

Virtual Orchestra Machine Continues to Lose Ground

Volume CIV, No. 11November, 2004

Mary Donovan

Local 802 and Dodger Stage Holding Theatricals have reached a two-year agreement for the Off Broadway production “Bare: A Pop Opera” that includes a ban on the virtual orchestra machine.

Dodger Theatricals is mainly known in New York City for its Broadway productions. The Dodgers produced “Urinetown,” “Dracula,” and “42nd Street.” But now the company has teamed up with Stage Holding Group, an international group of live entertainment companies.

Together, the partnership aims to invest in and purchase its own Off Broadway houses. Their first project is the new complex “Dodger Stages,” on West 50th Street between Eight and Ninth Avenues. The complex includes five theatrical spaces: two with a seating capacity of 499, two with a capacity of 360, and the smallest with a capacity of 199. “Bare” is going up at one of the 499-seat spaces.

Michael David, a Dodger principal, said in a written statement to Backstage that “the company’s plan is to create a small community of theatres in the heart of the city.”

Local 802 met with representatives from the Dodgers last spring in the hopes of getting the new complex under contract.

After several months of negotiations, the union and the Dodgers reached agreement for its very first production.

From the earliest discussions with the Dodgers, 802 made it clear that it wanted the Dodgers under contract both as individual producers and as a theatre, which means that any outside producers who rent the theatre are still bound by the union agreement.

As Allegro goes to press, the Dodgers have tentatively agreed to this concept and are prepared to sign a master contract with 802 which will cover all productions at the Dodgers Stages, regardless of whether the Dodgers are the producer or whether another entity is renting the Dodgers Stages. This contract will include a ban on the virtual orchestra machine. Look for details in the next issue of Allegro.

This agreement was negotiated by 802’s Theatre Department with help from two members of 802’s Executive Board, Tino Gagliardi and John Babich. Frank Lindquist, the chair of the Small Theatres’ Committee, also assisted.


During this same period, three new productions have signed agreements that have included a ban on the virtual orchestra machine: “Two Cities,” “Newsical,” and “Mi Vida En Jira/A Lifeā€¦A Broad.”

Having a ban on the machine and the ability to boast union musicians and the union’s logo have become a badge of honor for employers. At a recent negotiation session, one employer read the union’s proposal, saw the clause banning the machine, and exclaimed, “Oh, look — I’ve got it!”

A lot of producers and employers are now getting it. The union has now negotiated twelve agreements that include the ban.

For specific terms and conditions of the agreements discussed in this article see Negotiations Roundup of this issue.