We should walk in each other’s shoes.

The industry has a lot of big negotiations coming up in the next year or two, including Local 1 (stagehands) and 802 (musicians).  We’ve had a tough last decade, with both of those unions going on strike after impasse was reached.  And when someone goes on strike, guess who wins?  Nobody.  Guess who loses?  Everybody, especially our audience. So, as chatter starts up about the upcoming sit-downs, I started thinking about ways we could make the talks go smoother.  And the first idea to pop in my head was to . . . well . . . trade jobs for …

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What can Broadway learn from the NBA lockout?

If you’re a basketball fan, you’ve been foaming at the mouth and ornery to everyone you know for the past couple o’ months, as you’ve suffered through B-Ball withdrawal thanks to the lockout. Fear not, however, slam dunks and double-dribbles will return on Christmas day as a present to you all, now that a new 10 year agreement has been reached. First class labor disputes in sports always catch my eye, because of the major similarity between the two sides of their negotiating table and the two sides of Broadway’s table: Most of the owners of professional sports teams made …

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The incongruity of our contracts.

For those of you reading my Godspell Blog, you know that I’m in the midst of teching Godspell.  Techs for Broadway shows can be some of the most expensive and time consuming events leading up to a show’s first performance.  A big musical can easily spend more than $1mm in labor alone just getting the set in the door and up on its feet. But that’s not what this blog is about. As I have watched yet another tech, I couldn’t help but notice how our own industry has established a system that is counterintuitive to delivering the best product. …

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And the winner of this negotiation is . . .

A lot of folks out there on both sides of the bargaining table think that negotiating an actor deal or an artist deal is the same as buying a house or a car or a fake rolex on Canal Street.  You try to "win" the negotiation by getting the best deal you can, and then you're done. But negotiating contracts in the entertainment industry, especially in theater, is different.  Remember, the people (and yes they are people, not "parties") involved in these deals have to work together day in and day out for a long time.  Everyone on both sides …

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3 More Things I Learned While in London.

If you follow me on twitter, you know that I spent the weekend in the UK, taking in some new shows and some bland food (seriously, I love London. I don’t have to feel guilty for eating fast food, because I know I’m not missing much). As is usually the case whenever I visit Broadway’s Step Brother, aka The West End, I walked away with a few observations about our similarities and our differences. Here’s what I discovered this trip: 1.  The ushers in the UK are all young. The average age of the ushers, ticket takers, and bar staff …

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