Contract is union's first on urban circuit

Legit thesps’ union Actors Equity Assn. and David E. Talbert Presents, the company that has produced a string of stage offerings on the urban circuit, have made a deal for a labor contract that is Equity’s first in that market.

Urban circuit shows, which cater primarily to African-American auds, have traditionally hit the road in non-Equity tours.

Circuit shows operate outside of the traditional Broadway model, booking single-performances and split-week stints in many markets and selling tickets at prices that are generally lower than the Main Stem norm.

Talbert is one of the most prolific producers on the circuit, with credits including “Tellin’ It Like It ‘Tiz,” “He Say, She Say, But What Does God Say?” and “Love in the Nick of Tyme.”

His upcoming Morris Chestnut starrer “What My Husband Doesn’t Know,” will be the first to go out under the Equity pact.

The new Urban Broadway Contract is based on the Short Engagement Touring Agreement, encompassing regulations on salary, work rules and health and pension benefits.

The pact is poised to benefit both sides, with Talbert now able to employ Equity thesps and the union making its first inroads in a market that, while popular and profitable with its core auds, often flies under the radar of Broadway-centric legiters.

Equity organizers hope the Talbert agreement will be a model for deals with other producers on the circuit.

“What My Husband Doesn’t Know,” also starring Michelle Williams, Ann Nesby and Clifton Davis, is skedded to stop in some 20 cities through November.

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