ASK PLAYBILL.COM: A Question About Touring Shows That Return to Broadway
By Robert Simonson
Ask Playbill.com answers your (and sometimes our own) theatre-related questions. To ask a question, email AskPlaybill@Playbill.com. Please specify how you would like your name displayed and please include the city in which you live.
Question: I have a question about contracts for touring shows which end up on Broadway at some point during the run of the tour. Most recent examples include Bring It On, as well as the return of Fela! and Hair. I'm sure these shows began with regular touring contracts in place for the cast, stage managers, and creative team. When they go to Broadway, do they have to write all new Production Contracts for everyone involved in the show? What happens to the touring contracts already in place?—Jeffrey Martin, Utah.
In the old days, when a show left Broadway for the road, it was gone for good. No longer. Shows like the recent Broadway revival of Hair jump back and forth between Times Square and the regional markets, returning to New York—often in summer—when they spy an open theatre and a window in the tourist market.
The unions that represent the various professionals on these Broadway-touring-Broadway enterprises are well prepared for such venue fluctuations. Basically, the set-up is this: You're on Broadway, you pay Broadway salaries, no matter if this is your first, second, or 17th visit.
"Some of Equity's contracts have provisions for a New York stop along the tour, requiring an increase in salary to meet New York standards," explained Equity spokesperson Maria Somma. "Bring It On, Fela! and Hair are examples of shows on such contracts. Other shows on tour are on a Production Contract from the beginning with the intent to bring the show to Broadway for an unlimited open-ended stay."
As far as the directors and choreographers are concerned, "The SDC [Stage Directors and Choreographers Society]/Broadway League Contract covers first class touring and Broadway productions," said Mauro Melleno, director of contract affairs at SDC. "In the 'Touring' section of that bargained agreement there is a provision entitled, 'Tour or Other Company Moving to Broadway.' Basically, this provision of the Agreement simply states that any tour coming into Broadway that was not part of a 'Pre-Broadway tryout' will be subject to the Broadway terms (meaning royalty payments, pension and health contributions) for the duration of its run on Broadway. There is no new contract executed and no additional fee paid for any rehearsal period less than one week."
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