Industry Insight - by Cara Joy David

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Industry Insight - by Cara Joy David

Industry Editor Exclusive: Actors' Equity vs. ROCKTOPIA
by Cara Joy David - March 16, 2018

When you think Broadway, a lot of things come to mind. For me one of them is unions because I've had to cover many a threatened strike in my day. Except Actors' Equity, the union that represents actors and stage managers, doesn't have a hold on every Broadway show. It has a contract with the Broadway League for 'First Class Performances,' as defined by the Dramatists Guild. That generally means what we think of as Broadway plays or musicals, though the actual definition is way more confusing: 'live stage productions of [a] play on the speaking stage. . . under Producer's own management, in a regular evening bill in a first class theatre in a first class manner, with a first class cast and a first class director.' The trouble hits for Equity when shows come that aren't what we traditionally think of as a play or a musical with people we traditionally call actors. In those cases, if the producer is a member of The Broadway League, which has a production contract with Actors' Equity, that producer has an obligation to at least try to negotiate with Equity, at least according to an Equity spokesperson Brandon Lorenz. If a producer is not a member of the League, and is bringing in a show that is not a 'First Class Performance,' there is no obligation for that producer to even speak to Equity. Except Equity wants all producers to speak with them and they are willing to put pressure on producers to do just that. The latest example is the current situation with ROCKTOPIA.

Industry Editor Exclusive: To Dim or Not to Dim? How Broadway Chooses When to Dim Its Marquees
by Cara Joy David - March 2, 2018

A couple of weeks ago when five-time Tony nominee Jan Maxwell died, I assumed the marquees of Broadway theaters would be dimmed. I emailed the Broadway League--the association of theatre owners and producers who issues press releases on such things--to ask 'when' it would happen. I don't know why I automatically assumed it would.

Industry Editor Exclusive: How THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG Went Right
by Cara Joy David - February 15, 2018

In fall 2016, when it was announced that THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG was coming to Broadway in the spring, I don't think many in the community thought it was the best idea ever. It was a play with no stars, announced for an open-ended run at The Lyceum Theatre (not exactly a house of hits). It was a success in London, but decidedly British seeming. Mischief Theatre, the company that created it, was an unknown quantity in the United States. The one 'name' it had was television and film producer/director/writer J.J. Abrams, who signed on as a producer after seeing it in the West End. And even his involvement was perplexing-known for his eye for action fare, the early ads humorously stated he 'must have lost a bet.' Yet the show is still running, making it Broadway's longest running play.

Industry Editor Exclusive: How Broadway's Dealing with #MeToo and #TimesUp
by Cara Joy David - January 31, 2018

It is hard to be the first person to report someone's harassment. Even in this day and age, with the TimesUp and MeToo movements, most individuals are afraid to be labelled forevermore as the person who came out against X person. What happens if no one else chimes in? Will you look like a liar? And--even if you did want to come forward--how would you do it? Going straight to the media is not the right call for everyone, and the media also doesn't care about every harasser.

Industry Editor Exclusive: 1984 and Beyond - How the Tony Awards Committee Makes Their Determinations
by Cara Joy David - November 20, 2017

A couple of weeks ago, the Tony Awards Administration Committee made news when it declared 1984 ineligible to receive a Tony Award. The decision covered not only the play itself, but everyone who worked on it. What happened?

Industry Editor Exclusive: Paper Mill Playhouse - Broadway's Closest Out-of-Town Tryout Home
by Cara Joy David - November 8, 2017

About ten-and-a-half years ago, Paper Mill Playhouse was in such financial trouble it was on the verge of closing. This season the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony-winning theater is hosting two world premiere musicals and two east coast premieres. How did the turnaround happen?

Industry Editor Exclusive: What Ever Happened to Broadway 4D?
by Cara Joy David - October 19, 2017

It's been five-and-a-half years since Broadway 4D was announced and many barely remember it. Those that do however frequently ask me about it. Will that ever happen? What even was it? What was recorded for it?

Industry Editor Exclusive: Inside THE RIDE's Theatrical Quest to Take Over the Streets of NYC & Beyond
by Cara Joy David - October 4, 2017

In summer 2010, something described in a Variety article as a 'melding of a Broadway show and a Gray Line bus tour' was announced and I was very confused. And maybe appalled. In late fall of that year, when the giant buses labelled THE RIDE hit the streets, none of these feelings subsided. Now, seven years later, THE RIDE is a hard-to-describe but well-known fixture on New York City streets, even being parodied on THE SIMPSONS and, more recently, DIFFICULT PEOPLE. Yet, despite the long lines to board, it still has yet to make money.

Industry Editor Exclusive: The Rise and Fall of Cirque du Soleil on Broadway
by Cara Joy David - September 20, 2017

The early success of Disney on Broadway led other successful entertainment companies to believe that conquering the Great White Way possibly was not that hard. But, as Warner Bros' first foray into the lead producing game, LESTAT, proved, it's not as easy as opening and tossing some money at marketing. And now, after a sole Broadway show, PARAMOUR, Cirque du Soleil has essentially shuttered its theatrical division, Cirque du Soleil Theatrical. A spokesperson for Cirque confirmed that former head Scott Zeiger is no longer with the company.

Industry Editor Exclusive: The Mysteries of Success and Failure for Broadway on the Road
by Cara Joy David - September 7, 2017

We all think we know a lot about Broadway financing. We read capitalization numbers in stories. The Broadway League puts out weekly grosses and, even though we may not know a show's exact weekly running cost, those in the know can approximate. It is obvious when a show opens and closes on the Great White Way. Tours get into murkier territories.

Industry Editor Exclusive: Inside Broadway's Social Media Problem; What Can and Can't Go Up
by Cara Joy David - August 25, 2017

Social media is an increasing part of every business, including the theater business. There is some debate about what it means for ticket sales, but it is clear that it can mean a lot to increase actors' profiles. Actors who would have only been truly known by a select group of theater insiders have thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram. Some report being asked about those numbers, and Facebook fan page likes, by casting directors and directors. But it's not necessarily easy for actors to share on social media. There are some impediments.

Industry Editor Exclusive: Breaking Down Ambassador Theatre Group's Broadway Invasion; An International Affair
by Cara Joy David - August 7, 2017

For a community dependent on tourists, Broadway does not like outsiders. So it is no surprise that when in 2013 Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), a large theater owner and producing conglomerate in the UK, paid approximately $60 million for a long-term lease on one of Broadway's largest, but most troubled, venues, the industry took notice.

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