Feeds:
Posts
Comments

uncle sam dollar sign bagbway in binghamton

clemens center bldgproctors

Wonderful news out of Albany yesterday, which is not something I get to say too often. No April Fool’s joke, the State Legislature approved a tax credit in the state budget for FY14-15 that will cover 25% of production-related costs for shows that tech and/or try out road tours, or pre-Broadway productions in the State of New York outside the boundaries of New York City. I first mentioned the possibility of this tax credit back in October 2013 in this post.

Below are links to several articles that cover this recent win-win for New York State and Broadway tours and pre-Broadway productions. And if it’s a success this will show, once again, how beneficial the performing arts can be to local economies. Hopefully, this will set a good example and one day a tax credit will also be considered for other sectors of the theatre industry, especially the historically and culturally significant, but vulnerable independent theatre sector in New York City where so many performers, directors, designers, managers, and producers that work on these Broadway level shows got their start.

Bravo, Albany!

THE NEW YORK TIMES

PLAYBILL

THEATERMANIA

BROADWAY WORLD

AP

amNY

SCHENECTADY GAZETTE

BUFFALO NEWS

Advertisements
The men of the National Tour of EVITA from the opening night party in San Diego. (Patrick is 4th from left.)

The men of the National Tour of EVITA from the opening night party in San Diego. (Patrick is 4th from left.)

With the 13/14 touring season now more than half-way through, The Road 101 decided it was time once again to catch up with our peregrinating performer pal, Patrick Oliver Jones for our Voices From The Road series. Patrick is currently crossing the country in the National Tour of EVITA.

THE ROAD 101: Hey Patrick, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with The Road 101 again! How long have you been out on tour now with EVITA? I imagine it can get tiring constantly performing and traveling. How do you find balance out on The Road?

Patrick Oliver Jones:
It’s been about 6 months since we started rehearsals back in NYC. At this point, the cast has become like a family, connecting and sharing our daily lives with each other. The balance really comes in finding time to both enjoy the closeness and camaraderie of my cast mates, as well as carving out time for myself to work on a blog, catch up on my favorite TV shows, or stick to my New Year’s resolution to workout more. Some cities I’m out and about, seeing all the city has to offer, but some days are wonderfully lazy in the hotel room. As for my friends and family, Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites certainly help me keep connected, especially as our tour gets closer to their cities.

TR101: What is a typical performance day like for an actor out on tour?


POJ:
Days truly differ during the week. We do have some days that are pretty similar every week like Mondays (traveling to the next city), Tuesdays (a day off until 5pm when we have a company meeting and sound check before opening that night), and Saturday/Sunday (when we have two shows each day). As an understudy for Peron, a typical rehearsal day during the week would be a run-through with the other understudies and swings in the afternoon with a couple of hours to rest and eat before show that night. Those days we have nothing scheduled but a show that night are chances to sleep in, do laundry, eat out with friends, see the city sights, and/or doing some shopping.

Our call time is always 30 minutes prior to show time. We have a fairly short show, about 55 minutes each act, so our day usually ends around 10-10:30pm, depending on show time. Since I’m a night owl, then I’m usually off to bed around 2-3am each night.

TR101:
 What city are you writing from now? What do you like about it?

POJ:
Milwaukee. This is one of the few cities on tour that I haven’t been to, and of course the locals here say that it’s a shame we aren’t here in the warmer months. Not much to do with temps in single digits and snow up to my knees. Haha. I did at least get to the Public Market, a warehouse type collection of shops and eating places in the downtown area.

Mostly I like being here because I have friends living just outside Milwaukee that I’ve known since I lived in Orlando and was working at Disney World. I’m actually staying with them this week, which helps out financially as well. On a SETA contract, the amount of our per diem is based upon where we stay, whether in producer-provided lodging or on our own. By “taking the buy-out” I receive more per diem to cover the cost of finding my own lodging, which in this case is nothing since I’m staying with my friends.

TR101: Where are you off to next? Are you looking forward to it, and have you ever been there before?


POJ:
After Milwaukee we get a week off, which I will use to go back to NYC for some rest and relaxation, as well as auditioning. While I’m happy to have this tour, I do look forward to whatever is next, particularly a principal contract. The past couple of years have given my resume good ensemble credits, but now I’m ready to tackle more leading roles. So I have about 2-3 auditions planned for each day I’m back in the Big Apple.

After the layoff the tour starts up again in Cincinnati for two weeks. I have been there before and look forward to sampling more chili, which the city is known for. But I’m particularly hopeful for warmer weather, at least above freezing. From Minneapolis to Milwaukee and NYC, the winter freezes have been following us. I love snow and feel like a kid every time I’m out in it, but shivering cold is never fun. Haha. So getting a chance to not have to bundle up in our upcoming cities will be a welcome relief!

*  *  *  *  *

Patrick Oliver Jones is currently on the road with Evita (Peron u/s), having recently finished the Equity national tour of The Addams Family (Lurch, Mal u/s). Off-Broadway he starred in the world premieres of The Extraordinary Ordinary, Magdalene, and Swiss Family Robinson (NYMF). Regionally, Patrick has led a revolution in Les Misérables, made ladies swoon in Beauty and the Beast, antagonized Quixote in Man of La Mancha, and spent his days mooning in Grease. His dramatic works include The Tempest (Ferdinand), Look Homeward, Angel (Eugene), and To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (David). On camera he has co-starred in BLUE BLOODS and LAW & ORDER: CI as well as numerous national commercials in the U.S. and Canada. www.PatrickOliverJones.com

IMG_2675

Another Broadway Across America Theatrical Conference ended its short, but sweet run this past Thursday night in warm (thank goodness!) and wonderful Key West, FL. This year’s conference ran from February 10-13 on the theme of “catching waves and driving change,” the aquatically inspired metaphor being that not unlike that of a surfer, theatre industry professionals must continually “experience, create and innovate” by taking risks to keep up with changing times, while also maintaining a sense of balance and tradition.

For those of you not familiar, BAA’s biennial theatre conference is where all the top presenters, producers, general managers, booking agents, and ticketing and technology experts associated with the commercial theatre industry converge for several days for panels, creative presentations, business, networking and some fun. Well…er…a lot of fun.

To kick things off, popular humorist, Mo Rocca and acclaimed director, Jack O’Brien delivered charming and meaningful keynote addresses, with Rocca describing various theatre memories from his childhood, and O’Brien instructing those on the business side of the theatre to “play” more. He reminded attendees that gathering in Key West in this relaxed and fun way was important, because despite having become very much a business, theatre has been, and always will be, first and foremost about play.

With regard to the panels, the overarching takeaway for me was about how ticket sales are “riding the wave of technology” with trends showing that more and more people are purchasing tickets through their smart phones and tablets. In order to capture those sales more effectively, the industry is reaching out to experts in digital for support, and, in some cases, bringing digital experts on to their own staffs. A small sampling of the ticketing and digital leaders who spoke on this topic included David Andrews, SVP, Shubert Ticketing, Damian Bazadona, Founder, Situation Interactive, Stan Deak, VP New Business Development, Experience, which is based in an app that allows you to upgrade your seat, or add on an experience right from your mobile device, and Julia Vander Ploeg, GM & SVP, Ticketmaster Resale, who discussed the new TM+ website.

Cast members of GETTIN' THE BAND BACK TOGETHER perform at the BAA Theatrical Conference in Key West.

Cast members of GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER perform at the BAA Theatrical Conference in Key West.

But the conference went way beyond panels! There were also a number of special performances, as well as exciting creative presentations of both new and established works! These included Cyndi Lauper (KINKY BOOTS), Sheryl Crow (DINER), and the lovely Jessie Mueller performed songs from the hit Broadway show, BEAUTIFUL. I was particularly enamored by the presentation of AMELIE, and will be rooting for the show as it continues in its development and journey toward Broadway. Other shows represented at the conference were GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER, WE FOXES, THE HEART OF ROBIN HOOD, MOTOWN THE MUSICAL and DIRTY DANCING.

The energy at the conference was inspiring, and by the close it was clear that The Road has never been stronger. It’s heartening to know how alive and well theatre remains despite all the various entertainment choices out there. And I truly believe that The Road, by bringing theatre beyond New York, Chicago and other major cities, directly and indirectly helps theatre at every level thrive all across the country. By maintaining and building new audiences, fans and supporters on The Road, theatre remains highly visible, as well as culturally and economically relevant. And no matter how technologically advanced this world gets, at the end of the day there will never be anything that could ever duplicate the kind of magical experience that only live theatre can offer.

IMG_2814

Closing night fireworks on the beach of the Casa Marina Hotel, Key West.

contract - cartoonYesterday, Actors’ Equity Association held a forum where its membership had the opportunity to voice concerns regarding what some performers view as the unfair utilization of lower tiered touring contracts by certain productions that will be going out on tour in the 14-15 season. Here is a follow up article on the forum in The New York Times.

Having been an actor myself, and someone who now also has a number of years of experience on the business side of theatre under my belt, I have a decent understanding of both sides. I chose not to attend the forum, but based on the NYT article it sounds as though the AEA leadership provided a sense of the historical and financial context that led to the establishment of these various mutually agreed upon lower tiered union touring contracts.

But is AEA’s membership now satisfied and willing to accept the way things stand, or when it’s time for AEA to re-visit these contracts will the membership push their leaders to seek changes? Any thoughts, or predictions? Feel free to share!

Returning to the topic of a recent post, below is a link to an article by Chris Jones of The Chicago Tribunewho shares his thoughts about the increased use of tiered contacts for national tours that lately has members of AEA up in arms.

Would love to hear your comments on this issue here at The Road 101 if you have ’em!

‘How and why actors’ paychecks are shrinking on tour’

SPIDERMAN - WSJNow that it’s lights out for the most expensive show in Broadway history, SPIDERMAN – TURN OFF THE DARK after a widely reported troubled run, does the show have a chance of spinning a new web somewhere else?

Maybe.

Check out this article in The New Yorker  that discusses ways of making lemonade out of a Broadway lemon. One of the ways is on The Road. I talked a bit about this in a recent post. The New Yorker article broad strokes things a bit about The Road, as making any show that goes out on tour a commercial success — Broadway flop or Broadway success — depends on a combination of smart producing, thoughtful season programming, attentive day to day management, and expert tour marketing. These missing details aside, however, there are plenty of useful takeaways here. Especially the reminder that “Theatre is a business, yes, but it’s a weird one.”

walking-on-the-side-of-the-road

An article in yesterday’s New York Times exposed the growing frustrations of some of AEA’s membership about upcoming 14/15 tours using lower-tiered contracts. You can check out that NYT article here.

For more information about the Short Engagement Touring Agreement (SETA), please check out my post from a few years ago here.  Also, in a more recent post, actor Patrick Oliver Jones, currently on tour with EVITA, talks about how the SET Agreement works here.

Stay tuned for more on this issue as details develop following AEA’s Town Hall Meeting on January 27.