Actors' Equity Association and Dodger Theatricals have signed a contract for the planned first national tour of the Broadway smash 42nd Street, insuring that union actors and stage managers will create the tour.
The agreement was reached after more than four months of negotiations, according to an April 12 joint announcement. There had been talk in the theatre community since the show opened in 2001 that a subsequent tour would likely be non union due to the economic burden of a large cast and the lavish show. That is not the case, after all.
"Overall, the new pact will create approximately 55 new jobs for actors and stage managers, with at least 34 chorus contracts on the tour," according to the announcement. "The tour is projected to run approximately 65 weeks, generating over 3,500 work weeks for Equity members."
After reviewing the producers' budget and financial structure for the tour, Equity agreed that there was a need for a special contract. "The road has changed over the past 10 years, and has gotten more and more expensive for tours," said Equity's executive director, Alan Eisenberg. "We must adapt to these new circumstances if we're going to create more jobs for our members, particularly when the anticipated number of cast members employed will be nearly double that of the average national tour."
According to Michael David of Dodger Theatricals, "The sheer size of the cast of 42nd Street and the show's elaborate artistic and technical requirements mandated the need for a special agreement." One of the innovative provisions of the agreement is a participation pool that will allow actors who have not negotiated their own royalty participation to share in box office overages when there is a good week on the road. "We see this idea of sharing as a first step in redefining the nature of compensation for the actors," Eisenberg said.
Auditions will be held in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York starting in May. Rehearsals begin in July, with an opening scheduled for early August. The tour will be directed by Mark Bramble and choreographed by Randy Skinner, who staged the production on Broadway where it won two Tony awards, including Best Musical Revival.
"We are pleased that an agreement could be reached cooperatively and to everyone's benefit," commented both the Dodgers and Equity.