Industry Pro Newsletter: Unions Formed, Joined, and Agreements Reached - In Both Theatre and Hollywood

Cara Joy David looks into the end of the Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater, and what that means for the future of experimental work in New York City.

By: Jun. 05, 2023
Industry Pro Newsletter: Unions Formed, Joined, and Agreements Reached - In Both Theatre and Hollywood

While the writers continue to strike in Hollywood, and the actors have until this evening to vote on a strike authorization, at least one of the major Hollywood unions appears poised to avoid a strike - the Directors Guild, who shared many of the same concerns as the WGA membership, have secured an agreement with the producers pending a vote of its membership. Meanwhile, commercial choreographers are working on their own unionization effort, and Drunk Shakespeare in Chicago has successfully organized their workplace, joining Actors Equity.

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Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) is seeking a Production Manager who will be a key member of EST’s production team, managing the physical production and logistics of an off-Broadway organization’s productions and events, and overseeing the upkeep of the facilities and theatrical equipment as they relate to production activities. The Production Manager will oversee the planning and execution for two to three full-length plays per season and a variety of satellite programs and developmental work (including workshops, readings, and onsite events, both open to the public and internal). This programming serves as the support for a robust artistic membership and focuses exclusively on new work. Click here to learn more…

Industry Trends

Industry Pro Newsletter: Unions Formed, Joined, and Agreements Reached - In Both Theatre and Hollywood

The Tony Awards & CMU To Present The 2023 Excellence in Theatre Education Award to Jason Zembuch Young - BroadwayWorld

Jason Zembuch Young will be presented with the 2023 Excellence in Theatre Education Award at this year's Tony Awards. Young, a theater educator, director, and arts advocate, has made significant contributions to theater education and has inspired countless students throughout his career. The award recognizes his outstanding commitment to fostering creativity and nurturing young talent in the field of theater education. Click here to read more…

Tennessee Anti-Drag Law Ruled Unconstitutional by Court - BroadwayWorld

The law, which imposed restrictions on drag performances in bars and clubs, was challenged by drag performers and advocacy groups. The court ruled that the law violated the performers' freedom of expression and constituted discrimination. This decision marks a significant victory for the LGBTQ+ community and upholds the importance of artistic freedom and inclusivity in the entertainment industry. Click here to read more…

Directors Guild of America Reaches New Deal with Producers - The Hollywood Reporter

the Directors Guild of America (DGA) has reached a new agreement with producers, ensuring fair working conditions and benefits for directors. The deal covers various aspects, including compensation, health plans, and protections for streaming and new media content. The agreement reflects the ongoing efforts to adapt labor agreements to the evolving landscape of the entertainment industry and provides stability and support for directors in their creative work. Click here to read more…

Film and TV Choreographers Unionize for Fair Working Conditions - Marketplace

Marketplace highlights the unionization efforts of film and TV choreographers seeking fair working conditions and industry recognition. Choreographers, who play a crucial role in productions, have formed a union to advocate for better wages, benefits, and workplace protections. This development sheds light on the importance of ensuring fair treatment and professional standards for all workers involved in the entertainment industry, including those in behind-the-scenes roles. The unionization movement strives to empower choreographers and improve the overall working conditions in film and television. Click here to read more…

Broadway/New York

End of The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival Raises Concerns About NYC Experimental Landscape by Cara Joy David

Last week, at a time when Broadway producers were worried about last-minute campaigning and how performers are going to change at the United Palace with limited dressing room space, a fact buried in a New York Times article shook the theater community. It was in the paper of record that it was announced that The Public’s Under the Radar festival--a landmark experimental theater festival that is billed by The Public itself as “a vital part of The Public’s mission”--was no more. With a quote from Oskar Eustis stating it was “entirely a financial decision” and that The Public would “look[] for a new way of embodying” support for experimental artists, it sounded over for good, but a spokesperson for the theater has said Under the Radar is rather on an “extended hiatus.” Regardless, the news hit the community hard.

“I just feel like they don’t understand the value of it,” said Kelly Cooper, whose company, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, has had three productions at Under the Radar. “It impacted theater around the world--I cannot overstate that enough. If theater’s mission is to change people's lives, it’s changed our lives and I guarantee it's changed far more people’s lives than an Alicia Keys musical will. So, if you’re looking for stuff to cut, this wasn’t it.”

Under the Radar, under the leadership of Mark Russell, was a 2 ½ week annual festival in January that recently celebrated its 18th year. The festival showcased works--some very grand, some more intimate--from the US and all around the world. It was often home to what actor/writer/director Erik Jensen affectionately called “shows that wouldn’t survive a pitch meeting”--shows that were so unusual (at least to an American eye) that you wondered how they were happening in a major venue. Everyone spoken to for this piece raved about Russell and his ability, and willingness, to embrace all types of work.

Under the Radar was held at the same time as the APAP|NYC conference, which is a major world gathering of the performing arts presenting, booking and touring industry. APAP itself is pretty commercial, Under the Radar was far from that, but having them both held at the same time meant a lot of people were in town to see Under the Radar works. In other words, Under the Radar was important not only because New Yorkers saw shows there, but because bookers from around the world did.

“First, it was the one time of year where not only New Yorkers, but people from all over the world, came together to… try to figure out how the performing arts contribute to the greater good of society,” said Michael Silverstone of 600 Highwaymen, a company (run with Abigail Browde) who had a few works at the festival. “So on an emotional level, it’s a huge loss, because that’s what feeds us. Second, it’s a marketplace, and as much as we want to talk about artists being there to create works that speak to the world, Highwaymen is an enterprise that employs people. We looked to January as our marketplace--deals are made in coffee shops and lobbies and those deals turn into jobs.”

“This piece that we had made in like an unheated basement was on display,” Browde added. “Then all of a sudden we're sitting there talking to the head of the Pompidou Center in France--it changed how we valued or saw ourselves. The festival helped put artists, including ourselves and thousands of others, into that sort of global conversation that really validated the work in a different way.” Article continues - click here to read more…

Broadway Shows a Strong Box Office, But Where Are the Suburbanites? - Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter highlights the Broadway box office's impressive performance during the 2022-2023 season. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Broadway shows generated a total gross of $1.83 billion, marking the second-highest-grossing season in history. The article examines the factors contributing to this success, including the return of audiences, the strength of hit productions, and the reluctance of some suburban audience members to return. Click here to read more…

Manhattan Theatre Club Appoints Chris Jennings as Executive Director - BroadwayWorld

Jennings, a seasoned arts executive, will collaborate with MTC's artistic leadership to drive the theater's strategic initiatives and ensure its continued success. With his extensive experience in arts administration and a passion for theater, Jennings is poised to contribute to the growth and artistic excellence of MTC, a renowned theater organization. Click here to read more…

Robin Wagner, Celebrated Broadway Set Designer, Passes Away - The New York Times

The New York Times pays tribute to Robin Wagner, a distinguished set designer known for his remarkable contributions to Broadway. Wagner's iconic designs graced numerous productions, including "Dreamgirls" and "Jesus Christ Superstar." He received multiple Tony Awards for his outstanding craftsmanship and creativity. Wagner's passing marks the end of an era in the theater world and leaves a lasting legacy through his transformative set designs. Click here to read more…

"Here Lies Love" on Broadway Addresses Concerns Regarding Pre-Recorded Music - BroadwayWorld

The production responds to concerns by explaining that the use of pre-recorded tracks is a deliberate artistic choice to achieve the desired sound and immersive experience. The article highlights the creative decisions behind the use of recorded music and emphasizes that it does not detract from the live performance elements of the show, showcasing the production's commitment to delivering a unique theatrical experience. Click here to read more…

"& JULIET," "KPOP," "SHUCKED," and More Receive Nominations for ACCA Awards - BroadwayWorld

The ACCA Awards celebrate the excellence and innovation within the Broadway community, showcasing the vitality of the theater industry beyond the Broadway stage. The awards are nominated by Actors’ Equity Association’s Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs, and will be awarded in July. Click here to read more…

American Airlines Theatre to be Renamed for Todd Haimes - The New York Times

The 740-seat theatre will be renamed to honor longtime Roundabout Theatre Company leader Todd Haimes, who passed away in April. The current naming rights agreement expires in 2024, and at that time the theatre will be renamed. Haimes originally joined Roundabout in 1983 and was instrumental in turning around the fortunes of the company in his more than 30 years of leadership. Click here to read more…


Equity and Drunk Shakespeare Reach Agreement, Production Unionizes - Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune covers the recent agreement between Equity, the actors' union, and the popular show "Drunk Shakespeare." After negotiations, the production has successfully unionized, ensuring fair wages, better working conditions, and other important protections for the cast. This development highlights the ongoing efforts to improve labor practices within the theater industry and ensure the welfare of performers. Click here to read more…

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Names Interim Executive Director, Seeks $7.3 Million to Complete Season - The Oregonian

The Oregonian reveals that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has appointed an interim Executive Director and is seeking $7.3 million in funding to complete its season. The article discusses the financial challenges faced by the festival due to the pandemic and the subsequent impact on its operations. It highlights the efforts being made to secure the necessary funds to ensure the successful continuation of the festival's programming. The appointment of the interim Executive Director reflects the organization's commitment to addressing these challenges and maintaining its artistic mission. Click here to read more…

Solas Nua Announces Andrew Dolan as New Executive Director - BroadwayWorld 

Dolan, a seasoned arts administrator, will lead Solas Nua in its mission to showcase contemporary Irish arts and culture. With his expertise and passion for fostering cross-cultural connections, Dolan is poised to contribute to the organization's growth and expand its impact within the Washington, DC community. Click here to read more…


Indhu Rubasingham Steps Down as Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre - The Guardian

 Rubasingham, known for her bold programming and commitment to diversity, has made a significant impact on the London theater scene. Under her leadership, Kiln Theatre (formerly known as the Tricycle Theatre) has gained recognition for its thought-provoking productions and its dedication to amplifying underrepresented voices. Rubasingham's departure marks the end of an era, but her legacy continues to inspire future generations of theater practitioners. Click here to read more…

Missed our last few newsletters?

May 30, 2023 - Orchestra Audiences Are Coming Back, A Look at What to Expect at the Tony Awards

In this edition, we delve into the passionate efforts of America's playwrights to save the Tony Awards, the rebound of orchestras with growing audience numbers, and thought-provoking discussions on fair compensation practices for actors during auditions. We also explore the success of the 2022-2023 Broadway season, recent appointments and collaborations within the theater community, and international updates on Gustavo Dudamel's surprising resignation from the Paris Opera. Click here to read more…

May 22, 2023 - BroadwayWorld Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Awards Season Officially Underway

BroadwayWorld celebrates its 20th anniversary with a star-studded concert benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, featuring a carefully curated lineup of talented performers. The nominations for the 12th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Awards are announced, recognizing outstanding productions such as "FAT HAM," "TITANIQUE," and "MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG." The winners of the 2023 Outer Critics Circle Awards and the Drama League Awards are revealed, honoring exceptional performances on and off Broadway. We also explore developments in the Tony Awards broadcast, theater litigation settlements, new artistic and managing director appointments, and an incident in London brings the need for heightened security for performers into view. Click here to read more..

May 15, 2023 - English Wins the Pulitzer, Five Day Work Week in the UK

It seems like a silly thing to say week after week, but here we are again: the industry continues to shift in major ways. Now, though, we have started to gain enough distance from the initial shock and shutdown of the pandemic to really start analyzing how the industry has changed, and how much further it needs to go. This week, we take a look at recovery across the creative sector in an article from TRG Arts, Dance Magazine looks at how the dance industry has changed, and a new labor agreement between the Actors Union in the UK and producers highlights some of the major shifts in the industry across the globe. Click here to read more…

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Should SHUCKEDs Unusual Path to Broadway Be Replicated? Photo
Should SHUCKED's Unusual Path to Broadway Be Replicated?

When SHUCKED opened on Broadway last week, it marked the first time a musical that tried out in Utah made it to the big time. We hear a lot about the more mainstream regional tryout venues—La Jolla Playhouse, the Old Globe, 5th Avenue Theatre—but very few producers utilize lesser-known non-profits to try out their shows.

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