Author Topic: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA  (Read 16337 times)

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SM101

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Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« on: Mar 16, 2008, 03:15 pm »
Can an Equity SM call a musical with an non-union opera festival?

MatthewShiner

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #1 on: Mar 16, 2008, 03:30 pm »
Basic answer, to be safe, would be no.  You should check with Equity first.
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SM101

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #2 on: Mar 16, 2008, 04:03 pm »
Thank you, I'm planning to call Equity tomorrow. I did a musical with an opera company last summer, but it was an AGMA house.

Does anyone have an experience with this they can share?

MatthewShiner

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #3 on: Mar 16, 2008, 08:03 pm »
 AEA has juristrisction over English language musicals and plays, so if you are Equity and work either a English Language Musical or Play, it needs to be on a AEA contract. 

It's about your relationship with the union, not the house nor the producer. 

Now, it seems like the AGMA organization produced this musical, which may mean there was already some agreement.
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

jspeaker

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #4 on: Mar 16, 2008, 09:57 pm »
I would still call.  I had once been offered and opera and South Pacific at an opera company and they said it was okay.

Now it could be that the rep I talked too didnt know what I was talking about...

If there is any doubt... CALL!!
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Thomas A. Kelly

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #5 on: Apr 09, 2008, 02:04 pm »
If the Opera has no union contract, you can work there. Many of us work at non AGMA / non Equity houses. Equity does not have jurisdiction and would not overcome the AGMA strangle hold on Opera, so you are not working against the Union by working at a theater where they would not even attempt to organize. The reason not to work non union is if it is a theater or tour which is doing work that EQUITY members should be doing and going to theaters where Equity does appear sometimes and other times not. You should never do a non union tour of a Broadway musical that plays the same circuit that employs Equity tours... never... you should not work non Equity after you become Equity in any venue where Equity does have, could have or has had jurisdiction.

VSM

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #6 on: Apr 11, 2008, 12:34 pm »
Another opinion...

Being a member of the AFL-CIO, which is represented by SAG, AFTRA (no longer), AEA, AGMA, AGVA and the Italian Actors Union (I think), one union member may not work in another sister union's jurisdiction without that union's appropriate contract.

That being said, if the Opera House is not working with a contract and is completely non-union, don't the same rules of not working non-union, apply?
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Scott

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #7 on: Apr 11, 2008, 08:43 pm »
That being said, if the Opera House is not working with a contract and is completely non-union, don't the same rules of not working non-union, apply?

As I understand it, AGMA allows it's members to work without a union contract in houses/for companies they have chosen not to organize at the current time.

VSM

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #8 on: Apr 12, 2008, 02:05 pm »
Alright, if that's the case, I'm talking about the moral obligation that Union members take on when they pledge to abide by the rules of the Labor Union they belong to AFL-CIO; not working in a sister Union's jurisdiction without that Union's contract...?
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Amy877

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #9 on: Apr 15, 2008, 01:35 am »
As an AEA member, I feel a moral obligation to reject theatrical employment in non-union houses, not because of the AFL-CIO rule, but based on AEA's mission and the duty of its members to further it.  If the musical was at an AGMA house, as sometimes happens, that would be fine.

As for AGMA:  "Unlike all other talent unions, AGMA recognizes that singers should explore all possible sources of employment and, consequently, AGMA has no rules prohibiting its members from taking any job, union or non-union, " Alan Gordon, National Executive Director of AGMA.  This is no secret, so AGMA members apparently aren't bound by that particular AFL-CIO rule.  In which case, there wouldn't be a moral obligation for them to abide by it. 

Also, what about union SMs who act in non-union film?  Or, union actors who dance in amateur Nutcrackers?  It seems like the AFL-CIO rule is more of a guideline...

Scott

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #10 on: Apr 15, 2008, 08:41 am »

Also, what about union SMs who act in non-union film?  Or, union actors who dance in amateur Nutcrackers?  It seems like the AFL-CIO rule is more of a guideline...


If by union SM and actors above you mean Equity, then there is no conflict in the above situations.  Film is covered by SAG; dance by AGMA.  If you are not a member of SAG you may paricipate in non-SAG films; if you are not a member of AGMA you may dance in non-AGMA productions.

Conversely, just because you are a member of Equity does not make you a member in SAG or AGMA.

VSM

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #11 on: Apr 16, 2008, 03:51 am »
Great thread!

I disagree completely with the last two posts...

Let the discussions continue.
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Scott

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #12 on: Apr 16, 2008, 08:38 am »

I disagree completely with the last two posts...


You mean you think you're a member of SAG and AGMA by the basis of your membership in Equtiy?  Say it ain't so.

RuthNY

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #13 on: Apr 16, 2008, 09:23 am »
Mmmm... I have to add my voice to VSM's, I'm afraid.  It has always been my understanding that as an AEA SM, I cannot act in non-SAG films or stage manage non-Union Operas...


Great thread!

I disagree completely with the last two posts...

Let the discussions continue.
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Thomas A. Kelly

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Re: Musicals at an Opera House vs. AEA
« Reply #14 on: Apr 16, 2008, 10:15 am »
This is very interesting.

I think the original question left out an important piece in the discussion. What kind of contract, if any, does the "opera" house have? Are they an Opera House only in name, or like us, do they produce all opera and then once in awhile a musical. If it is a non union opera house and not considered as a possible theater for Equity to organize, then there seems no impediment to anyone in any union working there. If, however, they are on a non-Equity touring company circuit, then it is wrong to work there as anything but a picket. Here at NYCO, the Equity performers in all our musicals, like Candide, which we are doing now, sign AGMA contracts and are then stunned at the differences in "protection" of the two unions. On the one hands they can't believe how short the hours are, but on the other they don't always get being called 2 hours before performance for hair and makeup appointments... so it balances.

Anyway, the best advice given is CALL EQUITY! They are the final deciders, but the principal should always be NOT TO WORK for companies who are clearly avoiding equity status to save on pay, work rules, etc... like Big League, etc. They are a plague.

Just my opinion.....

Tom Kelly