JOE’S PUB IS LOOKING FOR ARTISTS WHO WOULD LIKE TO DRAW LIVE PERFORMANCES ON OUR STAGE!!!
For six years, Michael Arthur has been our Archival Artist, capturing dozens of performances as they happen. Now, we would like to invite you to participate.
If you want a chance to come and draw live during a performance at Joe’s Pub, please send us some sketchbook drawings you’ve done of musicians, actors and dancers. Each drawing will be reviewed by Joe’s Pub and Michael Arthur and several will be shared on our Tumblr.
Later this year we will extend an invitation for artists to draw a live performance in the venue.
Do you want to draw live at Joe’s Pub? Submit your sketchbook drawings HERE. (Please be sure to include your contact information.)
On October 30 we will be hosting a public reception for Michael Arthur on the mezzanine at The Public Theater (425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003) where 20 of his portraits will be on display.
[From Michael Arthur: Here are a few drawings from one night at Joe’s Pub, drawn from the vantage point of the sound and light booth. First up was the midway performance of Mike Daisey’s 29 part monologue All The Faces Of The Moon. I’ve drawn Mike before, but usually he’s alone at his table. His co-stars for this ambitious piece are a series of paintings by is Larissa Tokmakova, and it seemed only fitting that I include a drawing of the night’s painting. Next up was Joey Arias, a performer who defies categorization, but if you wanted to try you could pull out “cabaret”, “chanteuse”, “Rocker”, “Mocker”, “Diva” and the list goes on. Joey is one of a kind. That’s it. A night at Joe’s Pub. It can run the gamut from one man with a story to tell to … Well, really anywhere imagination, talent and creativity can take you. As an artist trying to capture the energy on the stage, I have enjoyed the wondrous unpredictability of Joe’s Pub.]
Couldn’t make it to #payingtheRENT? Well, you’re in luck! You can watch all the videos from the concert by following the link below! Playlist filmed, edited, and compiled by the multitalented Dan Tracy!
New York City theatre is identified as
Broadway, Off Broadway or Off Off Broadway (also called independent theatre).
Do these categories matter for the average audience member? Not really. In some
ways these distinctions tell you what you can anticipate from a production, but
there are many shows that break expectations, for better or worse. Still, it’s
helpful to know the difference between these types of shows.
The first thing to know is that the terms
Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off Off Broadway are necessary distinctions for the
artists, not the audiences. They’re actually defined by unions, based largely
on the number of seats in the theatre, and are used for contracts. For example,
the professional stage actors’ union, Actors’ Equity Association (also known as
“Equity” or AEA), needs to know what kind of contract a show falls under
because that designates how much an actor or stage manager gets paid, along
with other professional allowances received. A Broadway contract pays way more
than an Off Broadway contract, and both are like winning the lottery compared
to an Off Off Broadway contract, which is under a totally separate agreement
that has more to do with exposure and opportunity than paying the rent. The
important thing to know is that when producers label a show, they are really
just defining the contract that is currently in place.
What does it mean to be a Broadway show?
(Hint: it does not mean that the theatre is literally on the street
There are 40 Broadway theatres and they are
located in Midtown Manhattan, or what is also known as the “Theatre District”
or “Times Square” by tourists, and as “that place I try to avoid whenever
possible” by locals. Those theatres are large in scale, with anywhere from 597
seats (the Helen Hayes) to 1,900 seats (the Gershwin). The important thing to
know about Broadway shows is that they are primarily commercial ventures,
meaning the people who put money in are expecting to get a return on their
investment.* It’s expensive to produce a Broadway show (at least a few million dollars,
often much more) and, partly because union contracts limit shows to eight
performances a week, Broadway shows often need to run for awhile to make back
Broadway tickets usually cost in the
$100-$150 range. You can often get discounts when tickets aren’t selling out;
conversely, when a show is selling very well you may only be able to find
tickets for outrageously expensive prices (a relatively new phenomenon, the so-called
Another thing to note about Broadway shows
is that they often have star-studded casts. Because producers need to sell
tickets, Broadway shows often hire celebrities to help draw attention. This
doesn’t always mean that the actor is the most talented or appropriate for the
role, but it does ensure that the audience gets a special “only in New
And finally, only Broadway productions are
eligible for the Tony Awards. There are other awards that are given out to Off
Broadway and Off Off Broadway productions, but because the Tony Awards are broadcast
on network television, they function as a kind of “theatre ambassador” for the
city, helping to inform people around the country about what’s playing on Broadway. But there’s a lot more great
theatre to be found in New York City…
*Note: Six Broadway theatres are owned by
non-profit theatre companies, so the productions in these houses are often (but
not always) non-profit productions, which operate under a slightly different
contract. This doesn’t mean these shows don’t or can’t make money. But it does mean that when a theatre company has a hit show, the company can use the money to fund other, less profitable, productions.
The vast world Off Broadway…
Off Broadway encompasses many of the big and
fancy non-profit theatres in town (The Public, Atlantic, Roundabout, and the
like). Some Off Broadway shows are commercial (anything playing at New World
Stages, for example) but many are produced by the non-profits, meaning these
theatre companies are financially supported by grants and donations. They
usually have networks of members: arts patrons who enjoy their work. Since they
aren’t trying to turn a profit, they can take risks that Broadway shows often
can’t, and their work is often more artsy, intellectual, and daring than
Broadway shows. That said, they also have to program shows that their audiences
will want to see, so the risk-taking is always calculated. Off Broadway theatre
companies produce very high quality work, and there is consistent overlap
between actors and artists who work on Broadway and Off Broadway. There are
awards specifically for Off Broadway shows – the Obies – and then others, like
the Drama Desk Awards, cover both Broadway and Off Broadway shows).
Off Broadway theatres are also smaller,
which means that audiences get a more intimate experience. Based on Equity
guidelines, Off Broadway shows have to be in theatres that are between 100-499
seats (there are occasionally exceptions). Tickets for
Off Broadway shows vary greatly in price, but they typically start at around
$30, and should never be more than around $80, unless it’s a really high-profile
show. And even then, not everyone pays the same price. (For example, while
tickets for Hamiltonat
The Public reached a maddening $112, members who bought their tickets early paid
Now is a good time to note that if a
production has no union actors, it doesn’t have to play by any of these rules.
So it can mount the show in a 12-seat house, charge $400 per ticket, pay its
actors nothing, and call the production an Off Broadway show. And that’s
another reason these distinctions aren’t always super helpful in terms of
understanding what a show might offer.
Off Off Broadway is under the radar, but it
doesn’t have to be.
The largest and most diverse category of New
York City theatre is Off Off Broadway, also known as independent theatre. Not
only is it where the most theatre happens, it’s arguably where the most adventurous theatre happens. There are many non-profit theatre companies that produce Off Off Broadway productions, which basically means that the venue won’t have more than 99 seats, and if there are Equity actors in the cast, tickets can’t be more than $18 (under what’s known as a “showcase code”). And there are even awards specifically for Off Off Broadway shows – the New York Innovative Theatre Awards (or IT Awards).
At Theasy, we love to champion Off Off
Broadway, because there is so much incredible work that flies under the radar
due to the severe constraints of producing independent theatre. Budgets are
often small (Equity showcases can’tspend
more than $35,000), so marketing can be difficult. And because theatre rentals
are so expensive (and because Equity showcases can’t play more than 16
performances), Off Off Broadway shows often don’t run long enough to benefit
from word of mouth.
Off Off Broadway definitely runs the gamut
in terms of theme, tone, and quality of work. But it’s the place to go to
discover incredible new plays, the actors and directors who are on the cusp of
blowing up, and the most laid-back theatergoing experience in town. It’s not
unusual for a show to begin Off Off Broadway and then receive subsequent
productions Off Broadway or sometimes even on Broadway (Hand to Godis a
recent example of this upward movement). And most New York City actors have Off
Off Broadway credits to their names, even if they eventually reach celebrity
status. Off Off Broadway productions are often the very best deal in New York City theatre.
Visit theasy.com for reviews and information about what’s currently playing. Follow this blog for articles and interviews with our favorite artists. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for contests, musings, and more good fun.
And if you want more information about Actors’ Equity Associate and the policies we’ve discussed, visit their helpful website at www.actorsequity.org.