An arbitrator ruled that the $1 surcharge, implemented by the Broadway League in 2008, must be taken into account when calculating royalty payments to members of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (the union which represents professional directors and choreographers).
Until now, the $1 charge (which can generate upwards of $10,000 a week) had not been tallied as part of the total box office gross. Typically SDC members receive a royalty based on a percentage of the box office gross of their shows.
According to the ruling made by arbitrator Marlene Gold, the royalty adjustment would be retroactive through the League's 2008 implementation of the fee. According to a League spokesperson, the fee is used for educational and marketing purposes.
"Our members and other creative artists are paid on a unique business model in which compensation to workers comes in two stages – an initial payment for their work and then royalties for as long as the production runs," said SDC executive director Laura Penn in a statement. "Directors and choreographers are entitled to their full royalty. SDC has succeeded in protecting its members against such erosions of compensation in the past and we are pleased that this decision continues to support our members."
SDC previously locked horns with theatre-owning organization Jujamcyn in a two-year arbitration over similar matters in 2000. Jujamcyn instituted a $1-per-ticket restoration fee in 1997, when The Sound of Music was revived. An independent arbitrator also ruled in favor of SDC and made royalty payments retroactive to 1997.