Thursday, May 24, 2007

The difference between the LA 99 Seat Code and the NYC Showcase Code

Several people have asked what is the difference between the LA 99 Seat Code and the NYC Showcase Code. The LA 99 Seat Plan is similar to the NYC Showcase Code in that it allows producers to use Equity actors without putting up a bond and without paying Equity's wage compensation. For both of these codes, Equity considers the actors to be volunteers and the productions must take place in a theatre of 99 seats or less.

While many of the rules and regulations are the same for both, they do differ in some significant ways:
  1. The LA 99 Seat Plan allows 60 performances and you are allowed to extend for an additional 20 performances with permission from Equity.
  2. They are allowed 6 weeks of rehearsals (NYC is allowed 4 weeks) and if they are working under the "Extended Rehearsal and Performance Plan" they are allowed 8 weeks.
  3. They are allowed up to 36 hours per week of rehearsals
  4. In NYC Equity members are allowed in free to all Equity Showcase productions (based on availability) in LA Equity members are allowed to purchase 1/2 price tickets on all unsold tickets at curtain time.
  5. In NYC showcase producers are not allowed to video tape or record any part of any performance or rehearsal for any reason ever. In LA 30 minutes of a regularly scheduled performance or rehearsal is allowed to be recorded and upto 3 minutes of that recording is allowed to be broadcast.
  6. There are some agreements in LA that allow performers to be paid anywhere from $7 - $25 per performance based on the size of the house and the ticket price.
  7. Ticket prices for the LA plan can be upto $34.99.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Code Reform Movement

This is my opinion…..

Off-Off-Broadway started in 1958. It has continued and survived for 50 years and it continues to get larger every year. This longevity not only bears witness to the tenacity and devotion of the Off-Off-Broadway community, it also tells me that there is a hole in the artistic world of New York City that is not being filled by Broadway and Off-Broadway.

Off-Off-Broadway has earned it's seat at the table of legitimacy.

The Showcase Code, as it stands does not seem to work for anyone. Equity actors have expressed their unhappiness with it; the companies and organizations producing under this code are unhappy with it; and ultimately it sets theatre creators at odds with a union that is here to support/enforce a healthy environment for theatre creation.

At our meeting yesterday (Sunday, May 20th) we announced our (and by "our" I mean the Coalition for Code Reform) plans to engage Equity in a conversation on how we can work together to help solve our on-going issues.

For me it is not so much a matter of specifying the terms of a code, it is simply getting Equity to acknowledge that Off-Off-Broadway is an essential part of the New York theatrical landscape so that we can have a discussion and start to build a structure that will be beneficial to everyone.

I believe that there are 3 distinct sides to this issue; there are the Off-Off-Broadway producers (and 90% of them are artists themselves and many are Equity members), there are the Equity members and there is Equity the institution. Each of these groups have very different goals and needs that have to be addressed. If any one side does not respect and value the others, then an equitable agreement is simply not possible.

The Actor's Equity Association is an unincorporated association, which means that it is owed by its members. That means that if the members want a change.... then they can request a change. This is why the petition element of the Code Reform movement is so important. If a large number of Equity members believe that code revision is necessary, then the Association will have to take those interests into consideration.

Quite honestly I believe that the petition may be the single most important element of this movement. It is fantastic to have a discussion paper and to be able to present Equity with a well researched and thought out proposal. It is also tremendous to be able to point to the various community groups (not just OOB, but from the entire NYC theatrical community) to show the support of this movement. But it is the Equity members themselves that must stand up and have their voices be heard.

Whether this movement is successful is yet to be seen.

I know that the 9 people who make up the Coalition are all deeply committed to the Off-Off-Broadway community and have spent literally thousands of hours researching, discussing, writing and planning to try and make it successful. I also know that now is the time for change. Off-Off-Broadway is ready.

To sign the petition or to see excerpts for the May 20th meeting go to

Shay Gines
Executive Director

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Kind of Town…Chicago Is.

Helloooo, Off-Off-Broadway! My name is Hillary, and I am the development manager for the New York Innovative Theatre Awards. To give you an introductory idea what I do at the It Awards, when the Founding Directors say, "Ask for money!" I say, "How much?"

(Fair warning: I've never blogged before. My parents were always very cautionary about posting "private business in a public forum". This time, I agreed to give it a go because that's the kind of typical Team Player-Theatre Kid I am.)

I've recently returned from a brief vacation to Chicago. It was my first visit to the Windy City and I was determined to make it a whirlwind introduction to all the regional theatre they had to offer. I had an amazing time! I had the best hosts, who gave me a real survey of the city…for a theatre geek.

We started with the incomparable Theatro Vista theatre company. I was really impressed by their show. Coming from a community with such wonderfully diverse troupes, I was surprised - and saddened - to hear that they have become the only Latino Equity company in the
Midwest. Keep celebrating quality drama and your unique cultural perspective, "mis primos"!

We dodged the Kissing Booth at Rivendel Theatre
company's very sexy annual Red Hot Ball fundraiser. I can unreservedly say this crowd knows how perfectly Girl Power fits in the arts. If you can't get to Illinois this summer, they come to us with their co-production at Stageworks Hudson.

Finally, the rowdy artists over at Strawdog deserve a "shout out". They tolerated my weak heckling during their spectacular midnight Direct-Off. The competition was amongst six local directors collaborating on three-minute performances from twice as many unrehearsed local actors. The results were by turns raucously funny and disarmingly poignant. The proceedings definitely highlighted, for this foreigner at least, how much grassroots talent the scene is boasting these days.

Oh, yeah, we were also lucky enough to enjoy the always professional performances at the Goodman and Second City, but maybe they're too establishment for us Off-Off types.

So, in summary, visiting Chicago was a tremendous experience. Of course, I'm still proud of our phenomenal New York community. Stop surfing My Space! Go out their and keep showing the world how to make great theatre!

Break legs,
Hillary Cohen
Development Manager

New York Innovative Theatre Awards

Friday, May 4, 2007

Welcome to our Blog!

Hi Everyone! My name is Akia, I am the company manager of the New York Innovative Theatre Awards. It is my fun job to kick off our official blog! We are all looking forward to making our myspace page more active, getting to know more fabulous theatre people and sharing some of our own insights, thoughts, updates and a little behind the scenes look at our organization and the people behind it.

After many discussions about starting this blog, we realized that we know about many of the New York City theatre companies, and their members, but it is quite possible that many of you only know the names of staff but not much else. Over the next couple of months each of our staffers will be contributing to our blog. Look for a new blog each week.

We hope that you'll enjoy reading our blog as much as we'll enjoy writing it.

There will be lots more to come!


Company Manager
New York Innovative Theatre Awards