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company claiming off bway status?

mtwsstage
Swing
joined:10/25/05
Swing
joined:
10/25/05
company claiming off bway status?#0
Posted: 11/4/05 at 8:07am
Hey there,

I just had a question for all you knowledged ones out there.

I came across a listing of a company with which I'm familiar that is located outside of Manhattan. They are pretty strictly non-union and community level, and perform for a house of around 150-200. However in their latest posting they are listing themselves as 'off broadway'. Not even off off. This makes me wonder whether they are truthful? They claim to have a arrangements and that once they pay for the songs they can list themselves as 'off'.

I'm wary because I know they have investigated (and I believe punished) before by MTI for not purchasing rights, and changing characters songs and assignments for their own casting needs.

What would you all do? I just worry because I think some unknowing people might put this on their resume as that kind of credit, and it will come back to bite them in the rear.

Thanks for reading.
voztimbrada
Leading Actor
joined:4/5/05
Leading Actor
joined:
4/5/05
re: company claiming off bway status?#1
Posted: 11/5/05 at 3:05am
Hi MTW. In response to your question, there are two things in particular that make this theatre company's claim to be "off-broadway" completely false. I'll get to those in a second. A lot of people throw those terms around loosely, without adhering to the true criteria. It sounds like that's what this theatre is doing. Official "Off-broadway" and "Broadway" status is determined entirely by rules that have been laid out by collective bargaining agreements between all of the unions and associations involved with professional theatre in New York, namely, Actors Equity Association, the League of Producers, and the unions for musicians and stage crew, etc. Those rules have to do with a lot of things......size of the theatre, size of the show, amount of money in the budget, amount of profit potential, etc.

1. One of those rules states that the theatre must be located in Manhattan. You mentioned that this theatre is not. That is strike one. If it's not in Manhattan, it can't be Broadway or Off-Broadway. That is officially agreed upon in the contracts that all of the unions and associations adhere to.

2. Second, you mentioned that the theatre is non-union. Strike two. Every single Off-broadway and Broadway theatre in Manhattan puts up shows by producers that have agreements with Equity. Meaning, every actor employed in a Broadway or Off-Broadway show must be an equity actor. Although that is not the case with all equity contracts, it is for Broadway and Off-Broadway. That is stated in the agreements and rule books for the Broadway and Off-broadway contracts. Those can be found at www.actorsequity.org .

Any other theatre or production in Manhattan (with the exception of a few equity theatres that have agreements ohter than Broadway of Off-broadway) is considered "off-off broadway". That is an all encpompassing term that includes just about any production in Manhattan that is non-union. Anything outside of Manhattan is just that. It's regional theatre, outside of Manhattan.

As far as the songs are concerned....paying for the rights to a particular show or song is usually completely unrelated to union business, and whether or not that theatre is an Off-broadway theatre is strictly a union matter.

Hope that sheds a litte light on things. I once asked a similar question, and did some research to find out the answers. A lot of people don't know the distinctions, so I wanted to find out for myself. That is the only reason I know the details. Plus, I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to equity stuff. I'm a research freak.