It's been a while. As you might have noticed, we've been a bit busy producing two shows, extending one, going on all sorts of interviews, driving ourselves crazy, etc...
But one question keeps popping up, now that we're officially producing our first ever Off-Broadway Extension of DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA:
Everyone wants to know what that means.
First of all, the term Off-Broadway refers to a set of contracts that producers sign with Actors Equity Association (the union for professional Actors and Stage Managers). Those contracts are divided up into four categories...
1.) OFF-BROADWAY AGREEMENT - This contract covers all theaters in Manhattan of 100-499 seats. All of the actors in an Off-Broadway agreement have to be AEA, there has to be an AEA Stage Manager, and depending on the number of actors, there also have to be AEA Assistant Stage Managers. Understudies are required. This contract supports an eight-show week.
2.) MINI OFF-BROADWAY AGREEMENT - This contract covers all theaters of 99 seats and under. All actors have to be AEA. There needs to be an AEA Stage Manager and an AEA Assistant Stage Manager. Understudies are required. This contract supports an eight-show week.
3.) TRANSITION AGREEMENT - This contract also covers all theaters of 99 seats and under. It is a newer contract, created to help theaters move from producing on a Seasonal Showcase level to producing Off-Broadway. There are three tiers involved in this contract, and it takes three years to complete. All of the tiers are considered to be Off-Broadway. Most actors have to be AEA. The ratio increases yearly. There needs to be an AEA Stage Manager, and in shows of 3 or more actors, there needs to be an AEA Assistant Stage Manager. Understudies are not required. This contract supports a six-show week.
4.) ONE-TIME TRANSITION AGREEMENT - This is a special contract, created over the last two years for theaters that are extending a Showcase production, but don't have the intention of immediately moving into more than one Off-Broadway production. The contract uses the salaries of the Tier 3 Transition Agreement (the highest one). An AEA Stage Manager is heavily suggested, and all contracted Actors and Stage Managers are forced to pay working dues out of their paychecks to the union, but Non-Equity members may decline membership. Understudies are not required. This contract supports a six-show week.
We are producing DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA on a One-Time Transition Agreement. We have been allowed some concessions from AEA, because we were previously running the show without an ASM, and our Stage Manager was Non-Union. We also opted to add a show to the week at a percentage rate increase. AEA does their best to work with producers to make this kind of a move as easy and cheap as possible.
If you're considering the production side of things, there are some major differences between a Showcase Code and any of the Off-Broadway Contracts. The biggest difference is that Actors and Stage Managers are considered to be volunteers on a Showcase Code, and their payment is simply in travel reimbursement. On a contract, however, Actors and Stage Managers are considered to be employees - which means you need to secure Workers' Compensations Insurance and Unemployment Insurance. AEA also requires that the producer put up a bond equal to the total of all payments having to do with the Actors and Stage Managers, which AEA holds for one month to ensure that all parties are being paid. If, for any reason, payments are incorrect, AEA uses the money from this bond and charges a $200 fee for the work involved.
That all said, here are some cute little facts that seem to get skewed in the promotion of shows.
* Contrary to popular belief, the term "Off-Broadway" does not refer to anything that isn't ON Broadway.
* Just because a show is in an "Off-Broadway Theater", that does not make it Off-Broadway. It actually needs to be a professional production, working in association with AEA.
* If you produce on a One-Time Transition agreement or a Mini-Contract, you are able to produce on the Showcase Code for the next production. (However, if you build your company into an Off-Broadway theater, you can't move backwards.)
* Just becacuse a show was a Showcase, that does not mean you can get free tickets to it, using your AEA card.
And this is the life folks. I can't even finish this post, because of the amount of work it takes to produce. But please let us know your thoughts.
And come see DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA. 3 more days. Tickets here: www.seeingplacetheater.com