“Rocktopia” has reached a tentative agreement with the Actors’ Equity Association, the union said Tuesday.
The concert, which began previews at the Broadway Theatre Tuesday, will use “wall-to-wall” equity contracts, the union said in a press release. The new contract stipulates that the 30-person choir be paid $18.50 an hour, which Equity says is “more than double the pay” compared to what some members were offered early in the process.
“Rocktopia” will be removed from Equity’s “Do Not Work” list. The contract also covers the show’s stage managers, who previously did not have an Equity agreement in place.
Members of the choir, which the “Rocktopia” producers designate as a “choir of singers” rather than a chorus, are not required to be at every performance, as the show has a “large number of people” available to perform, according to the producers.
As of Dec. 31, 2017, the minimum wage in New York City is $13 per hour for employers of 11 or more.
Actors’ Equity previously spoke out against the choir members in “Rocktopia” reportedly being offered as low as $215 a week. However, producers for “Rocktopia” had argued that they were under no obligation to use Equity contracts as they are a touring concert and not members of The Broadway League, which is required to negotiate contracts with Equity.
The show is being produced on Broadway by William Franzblau, as executive producer, and Maggie Seidel-Laws, as associate producer, in association with Hughes Wall LLC.
“We have been in good faith negotiations with Equity for months and are glad to have finally come to a fair and equitable agreement, given the nature of the concert and its limited run,” the producers said in a statement.
Alongside the chorus, “Rocktopia,” which features mashups of classical and rock music, features a handful of solo singers, a five-person band and a 20-person orchestra.
The two parties had been engaging in “good faith negotiations” since November 2017. The wage details and stipulations on who is covered by the contract have been negotiated, but both sides still need to work out technical provisions. The contract would last through the show’s six-week run.
Earlier this month, Actors’ Equity had been urging its members to post on social media about “Rocktopia’s” reportedly low wages and lack of a union contract.
“I am encouraged by and grateful for the thousands of Equity members, as well as all the members of our sister unions, who raised their voices over the last two weeks. Those declarations of solidarity led directly to this contract,” Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity, said in the press release.
As both sides have noted, “Rocktopia” is not required to negotiate with Equity.
However, Brandon Lorenz, a spokesperson for Equity, said the union has a renewed goal to negotiate these kind of contracts for any show that comes to Broadway.
“Whether you’re here for six weeks or six months, if you’re on Broadway charging Broadway prices, you should pay a living wage,” Lorenz said.