SSDC, League settlement ups wages 3.8% yearly

NEW YORK — Directors and choreographers of Broadway musicals can expect their compensation to grow by an average of 3.8% annually over the next four years. The hikes are part of a new collective bargaining agreement reached between legit producers and stage directors and choreographers, with the four-year agreement taking effect Sept. 1.

The contract between the League of American Theaters and Producers and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers follows eight months of negotiations. Alan Jaffe, chief negotiator for the League, says the contract will allow producers to “stabilize costs, repay investors faster and address special concerns for plays.”

A joint statement from both sides confirming the settlement was released Thursday. Harriet Slaughter, the League’s director of labor relations, said negotiators “worked together to find ways to support the play on Broadway, to take it off the endangered species list.”

Specifically, the SSDC agreed to a restructuring of fees and salary advances with regard to plays, a move expected to provide compensation increases at a rate somewhat lower than the 3.8% for musicals. Both sides hope the restructuring will make the production of plays on Broadway more economically feasible.

Other items in the contract include increases to the directors’ and choreographers’ pension funds, and new rules ensuring directors’ and choreographers’ participation in rehearsals of Broadway shows going on the road. Among other changes, distinctions between various types of tours (i.e., bus-and-truck versus first-class) have been eliminated to reflect the shifting nature of the legit road.

“We had to deal with new ways in which plays are being produced,” said Barbara Hauptman, exec director of the SSDC, “when road shows like ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ come to Broadway or when road shows stop at summer stock or regional theater venues.”

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