Author Topic: Stage Managing in NY  (Read 3363 times)

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04sdwall

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Stage Managing in NY
« on: Jun 24, 2007, 02:07 am »
I have no idea the true makeup of SMNetwork and where most SMs work but a lot seem to work in regional theatres which I have always figured I would do.  However my question is, when do you decide to Stage manage in new york?  Are there more jobs with the Equity centered there?  Is it more competitive?  Is it harder to get the bigger theatres?  Is it a very elite club where you have to inherit positions like some of the backstage crews?  How do you know when it's wise to go to NY?  Just thinking a lot about the future and curious if others have input.  The future gig is something most stage managers think of I'm sure and just curious any feedback others have and see if others face similar dilemmas. 

Jessie_K

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Re: Stage Managing in NY
« Reply #1 on: Jun 24, 2007, 09:41 am »
New York is a tough nut.  There is a TON of work for SM's at the AEA Showcase level.  Union or non-union SM's can work these jobs.  The pay ranges from a monthly metrocard to $1000 for the run.  These shows are great entry level positions for SM's new to the City.  They can lead to more jobs in the future (if you are lucky those jobs pay better).

Off Broadway is a tricky contract.  It's got many contracts under it's umbrella (ANTC, Mini, and then I think 5 levels of Off Broadway).  People hiring in these positions will want more experienced SMs.  People with less experience can get ASM positions (union).  Unfortunately, IMHO, the pay increase is not equal to the amount of experience they are looking for. (pay can be as low as $400/ week)

There are a few LORT contracts in/ around NYC.  Harder to get, but the pay is better too.  Along the lines of LORT theaters elsewhere in the country.

Of course, there is Broadway (Production Contract).  This pays is higher, the work is harder, the shows are bigger.  These jobs are VERY hard to get.  Not impossible, but very hard.

Now, there are many other ways to SM that is not AEA theater work.  There are opera and dance (union and non-union).  Often the pay for dance is higher than theater.  You will probably be asked to do more than just SM (you might need to serve as Lighting Director or Technical Director or Company Manager).  Most NYC dance companies earn their money touring, so be prepared to go on the road (usually tours are small, just dancers, directors, you and maybe one or two tech staff).

Most SMs (and actors) I know here in the City have day jobs. A lot are able to find flexible or temp jobs that are pretty understanding when you need to miss work for tech.  Plus temp is temp.  Some people quit their day job when then land a show.  Also you can take electrics calls or other theater freelance work to fill in the gaps.

If you move, be prepared for chunks of time without work. For example in August, most theaters take their break and the NY Fringe Festival takes over the town.  This is great if you want showcase work.  This is not great if you are operating at OffB level.  (However, it works out nicely to take a vacation in August which is what I usually do).

Another thing to consider when moving to NYC is where you will live and who you will live with.  You will need roommates.  Find people who can put up with your schedule.  This is important.

I love living here.  I will always see NYC as my home (even though I tour and am always planning to go work somewhere else in the world for a while), it's my home.  But it can be frustrating to hear about SMs elsewhere in the country earning more money and having steadier jobs than me and the other SMs I know here.

There is work.  You can earn a living here.  But if you are moving here without a job lined up, be prepared to start at the very bottom and work your way up. 

Feel free to PM me if you have more questions. 

Jessie_K

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Re: Stage Managing in NY
« Reply #2 on: Jul 01, 2007, 07:24 pm »


As someone who ASMs a fair amount of the time, I would take a good natured exception to your classification that ASMs have less experience.  When you are first starting out, that can be true, but there are lots of us who have made careers of being the "1st" a fair amount of the time.


I did not mean to imply that all or even most ASMs are less experienced, sorry for any offense/ confusion.  I merely meant that a person with less experience can get a job as an ASM rather than as a PSM. 

And yes, you are right about the Off Broadway contract stuff being technically separate from ANTC, etc. 

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