December 3, 2002
|Cathy Bruce Knows The Showcase Code Inside-Out: Just Ask Her!|
Cathy Bruce is Equity's Business Representative for NYC Showcase and Dinner Theatre. And by her own admission, she is a "rule junky." Cathy caught the "stage bug" dancing at the early age of three. Over the years she has performed professionally in regional theatres all over the country. Some of her professional credits include leading roles in SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, CRAZY FOR YOU, DAMES AT SEA, PLAIN & FANCY and APPALACHIAN CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING.
In 1996, she hung up her tap shoes to make her Broadway debut in LES MISERABLES where she not only was a Swing for over 3 years, but also covered the role of "Cosette." In 2000, with a desire to get experience in the other aspects of the theatre business, Ms. Bruce made the decision to leave the performing world and move into the world of talent management. That experience helped prepare her for her new role at Actors' Equity Association by giving her a passion to help educate and guide aspiring actors and performers.
Cathy has been a deputy on her shows three times, including being chorus deputy for LES MISERABLES. "The most challenging aspect about being a deputy is to remain impartial and look out for the good of the company. You have to make sure the producer is living up to the rules, which is hard because you're in the show. You have to stay informed and communicate quickly and clearly. If you don't know the rules or can't answer a question correctly, CALL THE UNION.
Cathy has done several showcases in her career, so she knows the ropes. "But when I started working at Equity last August, I was very surprised to discover that many Actors are in the dark. So my advice to everyone is know the rules, ask questions and be alert."
Here are 10 FAQ's that Cathy answers:
10 FAQ's for Showcase
No, there are many differences. The Workshop Contract allows the Producer to use the valuable creative input of Actors over an extended period to test, change, and flesh out and rework the script into a more complete form. (The Showcase Code does not provide for this same creative input.) The Workshop Contract is an actual contract, and the Actors are paid salaries, and Pension and Health are paid on each Actor's behalf. (The Showcase Code is a code, not a contract, where members may participate without benefit of salary, Pension and Health.) Workshops are made up of rehearsal periods called "sessions" which are generally four to eight weeks in length. (Showcases may only be rehearsed for up to four weeks.) Rehearsal days are seven out of eight and half consecutive hours for either a five (5) day workweek or a six (6) day workweek. (See question #7 below for Showcase rehearsal hours.)
No, an Actor may not join Equity through participation in a Showcase production because it is not technically a contract, nor may EMC points be earned.
An Equity Tiered Showcase is a Showcase mounted by a funded non-profit theatre company operating under the Seasonal Showcase Code. There is a stipend involved for the actor, but the stipend is different for each theatre based on which Tier they fall under. Please call the Showcase Department at Equity to determine a specific theatre's stipend amount.
An Equity member is due reimbursement payments of no less than minimum public transportation costs (currently$3.00/per day) for all rehearsals and performances of a Showcase production.
The signature page is the document on file with Equity containing the participating Equity member's signatures from each Showcase production. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENT. The signature page should be given to the Equity members to sign at the first rehearsal of a Showcase production. If this document has not been given to the Actors on the first rehearsal, then that may mean the production has not been approved by Equity.
An Equity approved Showcase may not be videotaped and/or audio taped in any capacity. This prohibition is in effect from the first day of rehearsal until 26 weeks after the production is closed. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Under the Showcase Code all rehearsals are subject to the actor's availability. The maximum rehearsal period is four consecutive weeks and the rehearsals on a given day may not exceed six (6) hours, with a day off after six consecutive rehearsal days. Three eight (8) hour days may be scheduled the final week of rehearsal. The standard Off Broadway rehearsal breaks apply.
A Showcase Producer may schedule up to twelve (12) performances within a four-week period. An additional four (4) performances may be added at $10 per show per Equity Actor.
If you are an Equity member and you think you are participating in a Showcase production that has either not been filed with Actors' Equity Association or not been approved, please call the Showcase Department immediately.
More information on the NYC Showcase Code may be found on our website at www.actorsequity.org. You may also call the Showcase Department directly at (212) 869-8530 with any additional questions or concerns.