What a difference a year and a half makes at Hair.

Ok, it’s time to take a scroll down blogger lane to re-read this entry I wrote in August of ’08, after I attended a production of Hair in the park, pre-Broadway.

The entry is about how I got busted by Tibor, the fascist usher, for taking a still photo on my iPhone of the post-curtain call dance party.

Read it, then come back.

Now, jump into a time machine to present day and read in this New York Times article how Hair just jumped from the ’60s to 2010 by striking a radical agreement with the unions that allows the show to shoot the dance party on video, and then post it on their website for sharing, and tagging, and more, oh my!

Unique events are what is working on Broadway.  Hair just took its most unique quality, and bottled it up for everyone to see and share.

Super shout-out to Joey Parnes, the GM who fought for this, the Unions, for understanding that giving up a little control gains us so much more in marketing and therefore future employment opps, to the Producers for the big five-figure investment, and to Damian Bazadona and the guys and gals at Situation Interactive, for continuing to push our industry to utilize technology to solve our marketing dilemmas.

Oh, and one more shout out . .

Take that, Tibor!  Na-na-na-na-na-nah!


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  • This makes me so happy and I love hearing how happy it makes you. It was such a smart idea.

  • Nick Coleman says:

    We’re all going to have to rethink the way things ‘work’ if we’re going to keep our business viable. We’re collaborators, and I think we often forget… it’s just so much easier to stay focused on our own individual needs.

  • Anonymous says:

    I understand the benefits of this exposure and the marketing, however to call what the Unions did “radical” is a bit generous. I can’t speak for any of the other unions, but Equity basically did nothing. I don’t know if it’s due to the problems going on upstairs with leadership, but Equity hasn’t been advocating for their members for a long time. They continuously bend over backwards for producers and don’t look out for the interests of their members. The compensation to the actors for allowing high quality broadcasts of their work every night was a joke. I have worked under 3 Equity agreements over the last 2 years and in every case concessions are given to the producers with nothing gained for the employees. I did a tour on a Production contract who’s only concession was that salaries were about half the minimum. That was it! No “you get this in exchange for…” Just that I was getting paid half what I should have. What’s the point of having them around if they’re not going to enforce agreements that have been made and stand up for the rights of their workforce?
    Is this promotion for Hair wrong? Not necessarily. Did Equity negotiate this deal in the best interests of it’s members? Absolutely not.

  • Scott says:

    Anonymous’s blanket statement about Equity not advocating for its members is wrong. (Do I get to use the word “egregious?”) If he/she was keeping an eye on the great work the folks in the 2nd floor audition center are doing to ensure that producers, casting directors and theatre companies honor agreements and contracts in relation to auditions and audition opportunities, he/she would notice that not only have there been more auditions being made available to the AEA members but the required authorities and casting personnel are in the room when agreed to. While I can’t speak for the folks “upstairs”, the folks downstairs are are certainly advocating for the benefits and rights of the union members.
    Concessions are not given as easily as you think. The luck of the draw may have been to *work* under three of those contracts in a row but at the same time, I hope Anonymous sent a letter to AEA Council, or attended a membership meeting to express his/her opinion regarding the concessions before someone “forced” him/her into putting pen to paper.
    And I still think Tibor was right. A bit gruff, but following his instructions AT THE TIME, none-the-less.

  • Danielle says:

    And yet…
    I just got home from tonight’s performance of Hair, and the girl sitting next to me was yelled at for taking a photograph of the opening drop. Where do/can you draw the line?

  • Richard says:

    This is a very complicated issue. Aside from the myopia of the unions, which always think they’re giving something away, the question is what the person is going to do with the picture.
    Among opera “fanatics,” even people who would never think of buying and watching a boot to a Broadway show they haven’t seen, routinely own bootlegs of opera performances. Why? Are they being cheap? Hardly. If Janet Jones owns two boots of “Lucia” performances, you can bet your bippie she owns maybe one commercial recording, at least, and has probably seen the opera live at least once, and probably more than that. The issue is not one of money, but access to and enjoyment of something that otherwise would not have been available.
    (I attended a performance of Verdi’s Requiem over 20 years ago with L. Pavarotti, S. Dunn, I. Jones, and P. Plishka. It was not recorded for posterity, and it was a shame. No one will ever know how great it was. Mr. Pavarotti and Miss Jones were not known for humility. They completely checked their egos at the door. It was stunning, and the performance benefited. But there’s no record of it.)
    There is an immediacy, urgency, and vitality to live performance of any kind. A photo captured live of the cast dancing cannot possibly compare to one taken in a posed environment. We’ve all known or known of people who are rabid when it comes to the subject of piracy and Broadway and off-Broadway performances. Ninety-percent of that is legitimately focused. They legitimately want to be compensated for their work. It seems to me the answer is not to stifle picture-taking and recording, but how to get the workers compensated properly.

  • Anonymous says:

    Scott, I understand I may have gone a little broad in voicing my concerns. I didn’t mean to imply that there aren’t members of the union working hard for their members. However, I do know the details of the particular agreement that the Hair producers made with Equity regarding the recording of the dance party and to be blunt…the actors got the shaft. They had no input and were told this is how it’s going to be. What would you expect them to do…quit the show in protest? Give up their job, salary, health insurance and retirement on principal? I have voiced my concerns to Equity regarding my contracts and abuses by producers. It fell on deaf ears. I understand if a concession has to be made occasionally, but on every agreement I worked under??? That hardly sounds like an exception. It’s the rule, and if agreements are so easily renegotiated on a case by case basis, what’s the point of having the agreement in the first place. All it does is weaken the role the agreement has if every producer knows they can just ask for whatever they want and get it.
    I’m not doubting that the audition center follows rules. I’ve been there many times and I know how hard they work. Like I stated in my earlier post, this appears to be a case of management at the top not looking at the big picture and looking out for the individuals that make up their membership.

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