Off Broadway Roundup

Volume CVIII, No. 6June, 2008

Mary Donovan

Musicians performing on City Center’s production of DAMN YANKEES, scheduled to run from June 9 through July 27, will earn wages, benefits and other terms and conditions based on the current agreement between Local 802 and City Center “Encores!” Additionally, City Center has agreed — as it did for GYPSY — that it will pay on behalf of any regular orchestra member the difference between the Local 802 health contribution in the current Encores! agreement ($55 per week) and that required under the terms of the current Broadway agreement ($170 per week) if such difference would qualify a musician for coverage under the health plan’s schedule of benefits. Local 802 agreed that City Center’s total additional health contribution will not exceed $2,500. City Center will hire 25 musicians plus a conductor for DAMN YANKEES as it did for GYPSY.

A contract was finalized for Brooklyn Academy of Music’s “Bridge Project.” The Bridge Project is a major transatlantic initiative producing classical works in an international partnership between the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Old Vic theatre in London and Il Piccolo Teatro di Milano. Local 802 started these negotiations in 2007 but did not achieve finalized agreements for planned productions of HAMLET and THE TEMPEST. Due to an illness in the family of actor Stephen Dillane, the Bridge Project was postponed. The project will now be launched with productions of A WINTER’S TALE and THE CHERRY ORCHARD, which rehearse in October and open in January 2009. The minimum side musicians’ scales are $1,002.84 for a six-performance week. The music director/conductor earns a 50 percent premium and the associate conductor earns a 30 percent premium. The rehearsal/audition minimum for a 40-hour, six-day week is $1,515.75 and $58.72 per hour, with a minimum two-hour call. Orchestra rehearsals pay $32.86 per hour, with a minimum 2.5 hour call. Overtime pays time-and-a-half, except that overtime after 7 p.m. is paid as a performance. The first double pays a premium of 12.5 percent and each additional double pays 6.25 percent. All electronic synthesizer premiums pay a 25 percent premium. Vacation pays 6.125 percent above the minimum scales. Health pays $11 per day and is capped at $85 per week. Health is paid during any breaks, including vacation or hiatus. Sick time is earned at one performance for every 48 worked and pension pays 9 percent of all wages. Musicians have full identity of product rights. Substitution is available under the same terms as Broadway rules. Music prep is paid at full Broadway scale.

Two developmental projects led to quite different contracts. PURE COUNTRY, a developmental project than ran April 28 through May 23, pays side musicians a minimum scale of $618 per week for four weeks of rehearsal, with three of the rehearsals open to invited audiences. There will be no admission charged. Health benefits are capped at $167.91 per week and pension pays 8 percent. Music prep is paid at 100 percent of the General Price List. At the present time, exact dates and location for the next stage of the production have not been announced, although most of these developmental productions eventually want to move to Broadway. The previous stage of this production was done without a union contract.

LEAP OF FAITH was characterized as a workshop, and ran April 14 through May 14. Local 802 previously negotiated a reading agreement for this project, which was done in 2006. The side musicians’ minimum scale wages are the equivalent terms as rehearsal scales for Broadway productions, which are $1,664.88 for a six-day, 40-hour week, including vacation. Any performance outside of the 40-hour rehearsal week pays $199.08, including vacation. The hourly scale for rehearsals is $64.51 per hour, with a minimum two-hour call. The music director/conductor earns a 75 percent premium and the associate earns a 30 percent premium. There are five musicians in the production, including a conductor and an associate conductor. Health benefits are capped at $167.91 per week and pension pays 9 percent of all wages. Music prep pays full Broadway scale. Musicians are not required to be hired if the production moves to Broadway. However, if there is a Broadway engagement within three years of this agreement and musicians are not offered employment, the employer will pay to the musician two weeks’ wages and benefits under the terms of this agreement. At the present time there are no exact dates and location for the next stage of this production.

Local 802 has negotiated a second musical production at the Public’s Shiva Theatre. THE BROTHER SIZE was produced there last fall and now the theatre is producing PARIS COMMUNE. The performance and rehearsal wages pay 90 percent of the Nonprofit Off Broadway Agreement. All other terms of that agreement are covered. Music prep pays at 80 percent of General Price List. For details, see  the “Wage & Contract Info” section of this site. The producers are hiring one musician as musical director.

SHLOMO, THE MUSICAL, is being produced by the Jewish Cultural Center for the Performing Arts in the 349-seat Edmund J. Safra Hall Theatre. Eight musicians are performing in this production under Local 802’s Commercial Off Broadway Area Standards. Also, Local 802 negotiated an agreement covering the music director for an Off Off Broadway production of MARK TWAIN BLUES at the 99-seat DR2 Theatre. The terms are 90 percent of the union’s Commercial Off Broadway Area Standards. For details, see the “Wage & Contract Info” section of this site.


The Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia is hiring New York City musicians for some of its rehearsal and audition work. The Signature Theatre is designated by Actors’ Equity as a small professional theatre (SPT). It has less than 299 seats. Local 802 plans discussions with musicians to determine scales for this kind of work in this type of theatre. It is hoped that we can sign an agreement with the Signature for minimum scales, pension and health benefits for their future productions. Also coming to the city is the Old Globe Theatre from San Diego. The theatre plans to produce a developmental project in New York, called GOING HOLLYWOOD, to eventually transfer back to their theatre.