Thursday, November 8, 2007

Who's Driving This Bus?

According to a Crain's New York article about Charlotte St. Martin the head flack for the League of American Theatres and Producers, she is bewildered and surprised.

“I am surprised that with the number of hours we’ve been at the table together, we haven’t made more progress in really developing a new contract that’s more representative of business conditions today,”

So are the stagehands.

“[We] are trying to improve the future of the health of the industry so Broadway will continue to survive in times that aren’t as healthy as today,” Ms. St. Martin said. “When you fill as many seats as we’re filling and still have losses every night, you have to have new business conditions.”

Now the problem is the new business conditions (don't look at the grosses) and not the lack of quality scripts.

So the PR campaign has taken a new tack. The League of American Theatres and Producers is trying to save the industry from it's own success. Let me see if I can get this straight. Times are good so Local One and the theatrical unions have to tighten our belts so that when times are bad, Local One and the theatrical unions can tighten our belts. And you're surprised that the League hasn't made more progress at the table?

An insight into the lack of awareness that the Producers have about the day to day workings of a theatre can be found in a CNN transcript of an interview with Jonathan Tisch chairman of the Loews Hotel chain and Ms St. Martins former boss.

He spent a couple of days working in one of his hotels for a short lived TLC show called "Now Who's Boss? Should Ms. Martin have been paying attention she might have gotten some insight into the inner working of show business. The show only lasted for 5 episodes. Hello Unemployment. I can only presume they cleared the illegals out of the hotel before the TV crew got there.

"TISCH: One of the reasons I wanted to do the show was to have a better understanding of something that I knew already, which is the concept that our employees are more responsible for our success as a hotel company than in many ways I am. So to go down there, and having done the housekeeping position, and look at the 35 individuals who do this every single day on a particular shift, and also to understand that they're from 12 different nations, they speak six different languages, and somehow every single day this has to come together to turn over an 800-room hotel, and make the beds and clean the bathrooms. So I just wanted to tell them that I appreciate what they do."

I suggest that Ms. St Martin, the investors and the producers jump in on the next load-in. "Hey Charlotte, take off your heels and drop these points from the grid." 'Hey Trust Fund Baby, run these feeders from the basement to the jump and make it neat." "Yo, Max Bialystock, the trucks are here."


Anonymous said...

After reading St. Martins' comment and now yours I couldn't help but laugh. I know she hasn't much of a clue as to what work she is disputing. That is the new tactic though here in America. Put in the least qualified negotiator to just pretend things are getting done when all they really want is to deceive the Public into believing some work on this is actually getting done.

Her skills and perception of the job at hand are obviously lacking when she can't close a contract in six months. Why would anyone put that much money at stake into her hands? Or anyone who is unable to clearly represent them?

We all want someone who will tell us, sure I'll get you that, when both of you know full well it is unethical and unreasonable to ask this of anyone who guarantee's the work will get done.

Maybe this is what happens when kids aren't asked to take "shop" classes anymore in High School? It cost $40 to get your oil changed these days and they want to pay qualified electricians what? Make day laborers out of trained movers?

As if they would trust their antiques to the poor guys standing on the street corners happy to get whatever you can give them? If something gets broken who are they going to sue? It is because these types of business practices that Lawyers are so very rich.

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Great correlation there. I'm reminded of that old saying, "I will not judge a man till I have walked a mile in his moccasins." Good for Tisch, but what about St. Martin?