Is it time for broadway actors to find a new skill/career path?

GlenCoco
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I know this is a very touchy subject, and a lot of people will think i'm just dead wrong.  They say broadway will be back in September but I'm thinking it'll be more like 2-3 years before we get back to normal.  

Yes i know there will be those who are "mind your own business".  But if i was good friends with an actor i would advise them to find new skills or adapt there skills to doing something else.  This will be a long road for sure.

BroadwayBen
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There are 138 new vaccine trials underway, and a simple google search will tell you that several are quite promising.   Several notable, reputable scientists believe it possible that a vaccine is available by the end of this year.  Not one is saying 2,3 years.  12-18 months at the most.   And by late Fall, people will have more information on their status and the risks.   Irrational fear gets us nowhere. 

bwaylvsong
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Most actors already DO have other skills and survival jobs and/or “parallel careers”. It’s only a very tiny minority that make their income solely from performing.
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Tag
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Yes, there will be a mass exodus from the profession, but it extends FAR past just actors.  There are exponentially more people not onstage that are out of work.

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HogansHero
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The first part of the answer has been rehearsed in several other threads on this very page. I don't think anyone thinks September, but just how long is anyone's guess and anyone who says they know is playing make believe. (My guess, as I have said, is Fall '21 with a few things cobble out an opportunity before. Perhaps. 

Regarding whether it is "time" for anything, actors are not a monolith, and there are many different sets of circumstances. I will mention a few. Some actors are rich (either because they act in other mediums and have made a lot of money or because they come from money). They can coast. Then there are many actors who have always had other jobs, whether in offices, teaching. coaching, in restaurants, etc. Some of these folks will be in trouble now but others can stumble through. Still others will find other things to do until work returns, whether related to acting or not. And of course many actors do other performing, whether in TV or film, or commercials, industrials, print, maybe regional and non-profit theatre, overseas, etc etc. It is well to remember that, for most actors, being out of work is not an unfamiliar condition for actors and so coping skills are not uncharted terrain. But yes there are people who will be overextended and will fall off the tight rope. And there will be others who give up. Here again, that is a common condition, also bearing in mind that resilience is a characteristic not just of New Yorkers but also of actors. Many actors leave the profession every year and some retire; the lucky ones end up on "Where are they now?" articles. So a generic answer like the one you have come up with is really pretty meaningless.

 

 

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BrodyFosse123
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GlenCoco said: "I know this is a very touchy subject, and a lot of people will think i'm just dead wrong. They say broadway will be back in September but I'm thinking it'll be more like 2-3 years before we get back to normal.

Yes i know there will be those who are "mind your own business". But if i was good friends with an actor i would advise them to find new skills or adapt there skills to doing something else. This will be a long road for sure.
"

Hahahaha.  As mentioned above, actors already DO have secondary jobs (aka “survival” jobs).  The fantasy the mainstream masses have about actors is far from the reality.  One of my best friends stars in a major network series and she does countless voiceover work plus other side projects as well.  She could easily live the rest of her life on what she’s made from her hit series yet she continues to work on numerous projects simutaneously.  Lots of actors on Broadway (principal and ensemble) do the same.  No one just has one gig.  And yes, all projects/jobs are being done for the money.  

The ones who were affected by the Broadway shutdown are the crew/stage personnel not the actors.  The Actor’s Fund benefits (like The Rosie O’Donnell Show reboot, etc) were done for these out-of-work stage/crew folks, not actors.  

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Sutton Ross
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Actors are used to long stretches without work. They'll be just fine. 

Broadway61004
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The union has over 50,000 members and maybe around 25,000 jobs a year.  So that means half of the union is used to being out of work for a year at a time.  So no, suddenly not having shows to perform in for a period of time won't mean they should all find new career paths.

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BenjaminNicholas2
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It's not touchy...  It's realistic.

Performers always need a pivot in the event things go South.  The same can be said for creatives who's jobs are dependent on those same shows.

I'm in that same boat at the moment.  My company is a very well-known, billion-dollar entertainment company.  They're furloughing a lot and firing many.  Luckily, as long as the company survives, my position is safe, but I'm ready with sideways moves if I need to. 

InTheBathroom1
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What are they gonna pivot to? No other industry is hiring now anyway except for fast food and grocery stores.
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InTheBathroom1 said: "What are they gonna pivot to? No other industry is hiring now anyway except for fast food and grocery stores."

I think that's what makes this situation so disconcerting for so many people. Sure, actors may be "used" to being out of work, but that's in an industry that's constantly holding auditions and in a world where many of them are able to maintain positions in restaurants, bars, catering, etc. while working towards their next gig. All of this has essentially disappeared, and the road to recovery for all of these industries is looking long and arduous.

I don't doubt that many in the theater industry, both onstage and off, are reevaluating their career paths and considering a possible switch to a field that may provide more stability and security. Some may decide to focus more on coaching and teaching, some may return to school, some may leave NYC for areas that are more affordable as they decide what they need to do next. These next few months and years likely won't be easy for those who have dedicated their lives to the theater, but it does provide an opportunity for introspection, especially in regards to one's career.

And that's why I also don't doubt that, when the industry is back on it's feet, there will be plenty of people ready to stand up with it. This time away from the theater has just as much potential to reiterate one's decision as it does to deter them from it, even if it means finding creative ways to stay afloat in the meantime.

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Not only BWAY actors but in every field...Lucky our jobs are secure but I've had friends furloughed, let go and most recently just as of this week...many companies are now giving salary cuts from 10-20% along with cut backing on perks etc. for the rest of the year I guess till the economy gets back on track to some sort of normalcy. These BWAY actors are in a business knowing that a show can close anytime and you'll be out of work. As for Charlie, he's been working non stop since he arrived in NY 10 years ago and not having any $ left to pay rent... is unfathomable and his problem.

"Anything you do, let it it come from you--then it will be new." Sunday in the Park with George
Updated On: 5/27/20 at 01:51 PM
SouthernCakes
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Did he say that? I’m sure he’s got money saved but who wants to dip into their savings to pay rent. I’m sure his studio goes for $1800 or so. And Unemployment is currently $950/wk and soon to be $400. It’s not fathomable that a NYC can live off that.
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SmoothLover
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I do not think so, but artists and other industry professionals might find other kinds of work until the theaters and film production folks get back on their feet. That might be easier said than done.

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Robbie2
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SouthernCakes said: "Did he say that? I’m sure he’s got money saved but who wants to dip into their savings to pay rent. I’m sure his studio goes for $1800 or so. And Unemployment is currently $950/wk and soon to be $400. It’s not fathomable that a NYC can live off that."

I guess he'll just have to dip in to his savings in order to live till his next gig...that's life- Show Bizness kid!

 

"Anything you do, let it it come from you--then it will be new." Sunday in the Park with George
SouthernCakes
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Well, it’s a pandemic not show biz...
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Robbie2
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SouthernCakes said: "Well, it’s a pandemic not show biz..."

that too and he and others may be unemployed for many many months...possibly a year(s)...social distance, mask up and stay healthy

"Anything you do, let it it come from you--then it will be new." Sunday in the Park with George
Updated On: 5/27/20 at 07:56 PM
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alovingfan
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SouthernCakes said: "Did he say that? I’m sure he’s got money saved but who wants to dip into their savings to pay rent. I’m sure his studio goes for $1800 or so. And Unemployment is currently $950/wk and soon to be $400. It’s not fathomable that a NYC can live off that."

Checkout his Instagram stories.  Check out Max Von Essen Instagram stories as well.  They are hurting.  And these guys work all the time. 

Jarethan
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I am not in the business, but I have to say that a lot of you are being very cavalier.  Sure actors are used to being out of work for periods of time; however, the amount of time that coronavirus impacts Broadway (subject title) is time to be added on to 'normal unemployment time', at a minimum; this is over and above any equations people have proposed..  

When Broadway returns, many here have previously concluded that the initial focus of new productions will be on plays with really small casts, that existing musicals will take longer to re-open, and that new musicals may take a long time to come back, i.e., who is going to invest mega dollars in big musicals when it is unclear how quickly things will recover, even minus new productions.  Who is going to hire all these actors then?

So, it looks pretty bleak to me, admittedly an outsider.  Add on top of that consideration the fact that a lot of unemployed actors / performers (including my son) are working in previously taken for granted jobs, like cater-waitering, my son's 'safe work'.  Cater-waitering ain't coming back in any serious way any time soon, and it is too early to tell when business will actually be robust again.  Unemployed actors who normally fall back to waiting jobs, as an example, may be screwed there too, as we all know.  So, they have a long road before getting theatre gigs, and they may not have a fallback.  So, what then?

I think the subject is right on target.  In my son's case, I have the ability to help him out, but I have to admit that I am reaching the point where I am considering suggesting that it may be time to go to graduate school, so he is more employable when he gets out.  He has an undergraduate degree from a great music school (Berklee), which will help to get into a good graduate (business?) school, if not to get steady employment.

This whole topic sucks, regardless of your particular take on it.  People's lives are being impacted in horrible ways, and we don't even really know for how long this will go on.

Updated On: 5/28/20 at 08:25 PM
DAME
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Jarethan said: "I am not in the business, but I have to say that a lot of you are being very cavalier. Sure actors are used to being out of work for periods of time; however, the amount of time that coronavirus impacts Broadway (subject title) is time to be added on to 'normal unemployment time', at a minimum; this is over and above any equations people have proposed..

When Broadway returns, many here have previously concluded that the initial focus of new productions will be on plays with really small casts, that existing musicals will take longer to re-open, and that new musicals may take a long time to come back, i.e., who is going to invest mega dollars in big musicals when it is unclear how quickly things will recover, even minus new productions. Who is going to hire all these actors then?

So, it looks pretty bleak to me, admittedly an outsider. Addon top of that consideration the factthat a lot of unemployed actors / performers (including my son) are working in previously taken for granted jobs, like cater-waitering (my son's 'safe work'Is it time for broadway actors to find a new skill/career path?. Cater-waitering ain't coming back in any serious wayany time soon, and it is too early to tell when business will actually be robust again. Unemployed actors who normally fall back to waiting jobs, as an example, may be screwed there togas we all know. So, they have a long road before getting theatre gigs, and they may not have a fallback. So, what then?

I think the subject is right on target. In my son's case, I have the ability to help him out, but I have to admit that I am reaching the point where I am considering suggesting that it may be time to go to graduate school, so he is more employable when he gets out. He has an undergraduate degree from a great music school (Berklee), which will help to get into a good graduate (business?) school, if not to get steady employment.

This whole topic sucks, regardless of your particular take on it. People's lives are being impacted in horrible ways, and we don't even really know for how long this will go on.
"

Wow.  The best of luck to you and your son.  We are all facing some scary unknown times.  BTW.. huge chunks of this thread have been deleted by the BWW police.  

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Highland Guy
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DAME said: "BTW.. huge chunks of this thread have been deleted by the BWW police."

 

No.  Inappropriate comments and posts have been deleted by the BWW Moderators.

 

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Alex Kulak2
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I just sunk 80 grand into an acting degree, so I want my money back if this is the case.

OffOnBwayHi
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HogansHero said: "The first part of the answer has been rehearsed in several other threads on this very page. I don't think anyone thinks September, but just how long is anyone's guess and anyone who says they know is playing make believe. (My guess, as I have said, is Fall '21 with a few things cobble out an opportunity before. Perhaps.

Regarding whether it is "time" for anything, actors are not a monolith, and there are many different sets of circumstances. I will mention a few. Some actors are rich (either because they act in other mediums and have made a lot of money or because they come from money). They can coast. Then thereare many actors who have always had other jobs, whether in offices, teaching. coaching, in restaurants, etc. Some of these folks will be in trouble now but others can stumble through. Still others will find other things to do until work returns, whether related to acting or not. And of course many actors do other performing, whether in TV or film, or commercials, industrials, print, maybe regional and non-profit theatre, overseas, etc etc. It is well to remember that, for most actors, being out of work is not an unfamiliar condition for actors and so coping skills are not uncharted terrain. But yes there are people who will be overextended and will fall off the tight rope. And there will be others who give up. Here again, that is a common condition, also bearing in mind that resilience is a characteristic not just of New Yorkers but also of actors. Many actors leave the profession every year and some retire; the lucky ones end up on "Where are they now?" articles. So a generic answer like the one you have come up with is really pretty meaningless.
"

 

Bravo. Perfectly articulated.

Fosse76
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Sutton Ross said: "Actors are used to long stretches without work. They'll be just fine."

That's true to an extent,  but there are limited job opportunities at the moment. However,  let's not also forget that many performers have spouses that aren't in the business,  so they may be supported by them.  

VintageSnarker
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bwaylvsong said: "Most actors already DO have other skills and survival jobs and/or “parallel careers”. It’s only a very tiny minority that make their income solely from performing."

I think an issue is that a lot of those survival jobs aren't available either. There was no restaurant, bartender, catering, etc. work. There were no child care jobs (or there shouldn't have been with the quarantine) and no office temp work. No gyms were open for people work in fitness. Some actors have side businesses cooking or crafting but aside from fans who want to support them by buying merch, I don't think people are looking to make more frivolous/unnecessary purchases right now.

Someone who has always been an actor likely has not had time to train in the skills for a completely different discipline and/or maintain the kind of long-term job that would be employing them right now.