The best show that I saw on Broadway last season was August Wilson's JITNEY. Produced by Manhattan Theater Club, it played at the Friedman Theater on West 47th Street, across the street from WAITRESS at the Atkinson and next door to THE PRESENT starring Cate Blanchett at the Barrymore. The show was nominated for 6 Tony Awards, and it won the prize for Best Revival of a Play.
And yet, the minimum salaries for the stage managers and actors working on JITNEY were more than 20% lower than those for the Equity members working across the street and right next door. Why? Because Manhattan Theater Club produces using the LORT Agreement, a contract which Equity has continued to allow to have lower minimum standards for Broadway work.
The Tony Award that MTC took home for JITNEY was the same size as all of the other awards given out that evening, but the salaries they paid to earn it were far less. This is a practice that is unacceptable, and one that unfortunately was just extended by another 5 years with the last round of LORT negotiations.
Equity stage managers and actors working on Broadway stages deserve Broadway wages. You need to elect leaders who will use every resource possible to secure this in the next round of LORT negotiations. I promise to do everything I can to make it a reality.
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