The Business of Theatre


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The Business of Theatre

  1. 1. The Business of Theatre
  2. 2. Commercial Theatre For Profit - “It’s a Business”
  3. 3. Commercial Producer runs the business (like a CEO) sells the idea raises money: Angels (stockholders) The Producer can be an individual or a consortium of people.
  4. 4. Producer negotiates Union Contracts 11+ Unions on Broadway (from actors to ushers) – for example: AEA – Actor’s Equity Association (1917) - for actors and stage managers SDC-Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers Musicians Unions (3-4) ASCAP, AFM, etc Other AFL-CIO union affiliates: Ironworkers, painters, makeup artists, hairdressers, wardrobe and costume, carpenters, electricians, ushers/house managers, backstage hands
  5. 5. Phantom of the Opera - 1988 As of January 2011, it is the longest running Broadway musical
  6. 6. June 2013…. Phantom stats The Producers employ: 10,000 people a year - 1,200 AEA (Eauity) There are 5 National Tours Internationally 150 Million people have seen it in 29 countries in 13 languages For a total of: 65,000 performances ! The only B-way show with 28 instruments in the pit
  7. 7. Phantom of the Opera Money to Open The “Nut” $8mm $400K/wk Ticket Sales Nut Profit $540K/wk $400K $140K Compare to Week Ending December 30, 2012 - $1.75 Million Gross for the week !
  8. 8. Phantom (cont.) 40 Weeks to pay off Money to Open Revenues from: Ticket Sales National/International Tours CD’s & other merchandise $900+ Million Gross over 25 years nationally $4.2 Billion Gross – internationally
  9. 9. But . . . 90% of all ventures lose 100%!
  10. 10. “Spiderman”….Lights Out ! Spiderman closed this fall because the producers lost too much money and couldn’t get it technically ready for international rights It cost the producers $75 MILLION to open the show in 2010 ! The “nut” for the show in the first year was $1 mill ++
  11. 11. NEW YORK CITY Several different business types of theatre in NYC: Broadway (Commercial) Off-Broadway (Commercial and Not-for-Profit) Off-off Broadway (Non-profit) Regional theatres (Non-profit)
  12. 12. Times Square – 1938
  13. 13. BROADWAY-COMMERCIAL Broadway is a Theatre district in NYC with currently 40 B’dway theatres operating House Size: 500+ seat spaces work under a “Production” or “Commercial Broadway” Contract “National Touring” contracts are like Broadway contracts but include clauses for housing Commercial appeal: lots of musicals and spectacle
  14. 14. Commercial theatre is produced outside New York in the form of: Dinner Theatres Comedy Improv Theatre Tours Las Vegas-type shows
  15. 15. OFF BROADWAY House Size: 200-499 seats Has its own “Off-Broadway” Contract Located all over NYC Alternative to pricey, commercial Broadway Many new plays and works Non-profit “farm-team” for Broadway
  16. 16. Manhattan Theatre Club, NYC
  17. 17. Roundabout Theatre, NYC
  18. 18. OFF-OFF BROADWAY Greenwich Village, East Village, Uptown – where ever ! Experimental and Avant-garde Always non-profit, rarely ever Commercial Actors, Directors, Designers work for little money or travel expenses only Good showcase for young professionals Examples: LaMama in the lower east side T.Schrieber in Chelsea district Symphony Space in Chelsea district
  19. 19. COMMERCIAL vs. NOT-FOR-PROFIT….. NOT-FOR-PROFIT legal, tax status: 501(c)3 Advantageous for small operations Regional Theatres, Community Theatres, Educational Theatres are all NONPROFIT
  20. 20. RESIDENT PROFESSIONAL THEATRES or REGIONAL THEATRES Professional non-profit theatres League of Resident Theatres, or L.O.R.T. – special contract with unions (5 kinds of LORT contracts – “A” through ”E”, depending on size of theatre Traditionally perform “in rep” (repertory) with a resident company of actors and designers Owned by: Board of Directors (Trustees) - own & manage facilities – governs Run by: Producing or Managing Director - runs the business, produces Artistic Director - responsible for the artistic values
  21. 21. Financed by Box Office Corporations Individuals Government (Grants)
  22. 22. Arena Stage -- Washington, DC. (f. 1950)
  23. 23. Alley Theatre – Houston, TX
  24. 24. Denver Center Theatre Company
  25. 25. SHAKESPEARE FESTIVALS About 80 across the US Operated in same manner as LORT/Regional Theatres Mostly Summer Seasons -- some have moved to year-round
  26. 26. Colorado Shakespeare Festival
  27. 27. Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre (AST)
  28. 28. OUTDOOR DRAMA The Great Passion Play Eureka Springs, AR The Lost Colony Outer Banks, NC Tecumseh Chilicothe, Ohio
  29. 29. The Great Passion Play
  30. 30. The Lost Colony
  31. 31. Tecumseh
  33. 33. Other Types of Theatres Improv Comedy Groups Dinner Theatres (commercial)
  34. 34. SUMMARY - BUSINESS CATEGORIES Commercial Theatre: Broadway & Tours Off-Broadway (mostly NFP in NYC only) Off-off-Broadway (NFP in NYC only) Regional (LORT)Theatre (NFP) Educational Theatre (NFP) Community Theatre (NFP) Shakespeare Festivals (NFP) Summer Stock (NFP)