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Off-Broadway Reaches Equity Agreement

Broadway Black

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Off-Broadway actors are getting what they are due. After a tremendous push and pull, performing professionals, are getting what Kate Shindle (President of eastern regional board of Actors’ Equity) calls, “[a] hefty wage increase.” In a statement, Shindle said, “This is historic in so many ways. The wage increases will allow actors and stage managers to continue to do the work that we love Off Broadway, while being able to support ourselves financially.”

Off Broadway theaters have agreed to pay high salaries to almost hundreds of actors and stage managers, according to The New York Times. The new contract will last five years. Stage acting has gained a reputation of poor pay however off broadway performers said, “their wages have become increasingly unacceptable.” Some actors are paid no more than $593 a week, for roles that usually last a few weeks, while paying 10 percent to an agent and 2.25 percent to their union. After paying taxes as well, there is usually not enough to cover the cost of living in New York. The increase will range from 32 to 81 percent which includes all types of budgets and all types of theaters.

The push for fair wages started with a strong yet highly visible social media campaign using the hashtag, #FairWageOnstage. The campaign sought out support from celebrities and putting pressure on New York city’s nonprofit theaters and producers to pay higher salaries. November 18 2016, The Actors’ Equity Association reached an agreement after continuous battle and a talk about a strike. The full agreement was approved by the eastern regional board of Actors’ Equity. Actors  were motivated to not only increase New York’s cost of living but also raising awareness to the increasing population of New York’s public theater with an annual budget of $41 million. The new agreement creates opportunity for both actors and stage managers.

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Events and Happenings

Erika Dickerson-Despenza Addresses Flint Water Crisis with Cullud Wattah

Drew Shade

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Playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza

There is limited seating left for Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s new play CULLUD WATTAH at The Public Theater. Opening today, Thursday, March 7th and running until Sunday, March 10th in the Public Studio is about three generations of Black women living through the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

“It’s been 936 days since Marion’s family has had clean water. When local activists file a class action lawsuit against the city, Marion—a third-generation employee at General Motors—must decide how best to support her two daughters, sister, and mother while lead seeps into the community, their home, and their bodies. As corrosive memories and secrets rise among them, the family wonders if they’ll ever be able to filter out the truth.”

2018 Relentless Award Semifinalist and poet-playwright makes her Public Theater debut with CULLUD WATTAH directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. Jones; the cast includes Deonna Bouye (Marion), Alana Raquel Bowers (Reesee), Caroline Stefanie Clay (Big Ma), Nikiya Mathis (Ainee), and Kara Young (Plum).

The creative team includes Production Stage Manager Gregory Fletcher, Stage Manager Priscilla Villanueva, and Movement Director Adesola Osakalumi. Along with scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, Costume Design by Ntokozo Fuzunina Kunene, lighting Design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, and sound design by Megan Culley

We believe in this work so much we’re giving away 4 tickets to the performances on March 10th. 2 tickets to the matinee and two the evening performance thanks to our founder Drew Shade and actress/playwright Jocelyn Bioh. Go to our Instagram to find out how!

Also, find out more about how you can help the Flint Water Crisis and support this show HERE.

Listen to Erika talk about her work on an episode of Off Book Podcast below

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Events and Happenings

Surely Goodness and Mercy by Chisa Hutchinson Begins Off-Broadway

Broadway Black

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Performances begin today, Tuesday February 26th, for the New York premiere of  Surely Goodness and Mercy, presented by Keen Company. A story about an exceptional boy living a troubled life in Newark, NJ who does a good deed for an often unnoticed person.   Sarita Covington, Jay Mazyck, Brenda Pressley, Courtney Thomas, and Cezar Williams star under Jessi D. Hill’s direction.

Set in an under-funded public school in Newark, Surely Goodness and Mercy by rising playwright Chisa Hutchinson, tells the story of a bible-toting boy with a photographic memory who befriends the cantankerous old lunch lady. Against all odds, Tino and Bernadette help each other through the mess of growing up and growing old.  

Surely Goodness and Mercy has spent the last year charming audiences across the country: “Notably absent from Hutchinson’s frank and sobering story: cynicism” – Chicago Reader; “(Surely Goodness and Mercy has) a soul-stirring quality, touching audiences with its sincerity” – Daily Utah Chronicle; “it’s impossible not to like it” – The Salt Lake Tribune. Now, Keen is honored to bring this big-hearted new play to New York for the first time.

Performances for this limited Off-Broadway engagement of Surely Goodness and Mercy will continue through Saturday, April 13th only, with opening night set for Wednesday, March 13th.

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