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November 25, 2002

Nicki Stephens Promoted to Developing Theatre Business Representative in NYC Office

Nicki Stephens, formerly of the Contracts Department in the New York City Office of Actors' Equity Association, is the newest Business Representative to take over the Southeast Region of Developing Theatre. Her new position began on November 11th after she spent 10 years with Contracts.

Nicki was "on the road" even before she began touring with her theatrical career. Reared as the daughter of a career man in the Army, an "Army brat" as she joked, Nicki grew up all over the world. As a child, she spent time in Japan, France, Virginia, California, Washington State, and Texas before graduating high school where her original goal was to become a member of the Foreign Service. Nicki ended up graduating from Central Washington University, Ellensburg where she double majored in Theatre, Acting/Directing and Political Science.

Performing and theatre were always a part of her life. As a child, Nicki studied ballet, voice and was a member of the drama club at Carmel High School in California. After graduating college, she found her way from Washington State to North Carolina where she apprenticed with the Vagabond Players at Flat Rock Playhouse, The State Theatre of North Carolina, which is one of the oldest stock theatres in the country having been founded in 1952.

"My first production was Opal's Baby a play by John Patrick," said Nicki, "I worked as the Production Assistant to the Stage Mananger. She went on to work as the Lightboard Operator for Teahouse of the August Moon with Don Dubbins, and as the Sound Operator for A Man for All Seasons with Pat Hingle.

Nicki's acting debut was in The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail as "The Woman." She was also in Uproar in the House, a British Farce. "I really had fun in Uproar," recounts Nicki, "the audience was laughing hysterically. I liked North Carolina because the people were friendly and the ghost stories of the Appalachians were great. Flat Rock Playhouse is built on a ceremonial Indian site and its first producer, Robroy Farquhar was a real character. He had a Ronald Coleman mustache. I worked under the CORST contract quite a lot." Nicki became a member of Actors' Equity Association in 1975.

Nicki went on to Chicago and worked at the University of Chicago as an actor. She remembers an unusual production there: "In fact, I did a 'topless Dracula' in a production called Count Dracula. It was a sensuous production, to say the least. We presaged the NY production in some ways."

Working in Chicago led her to New York to start auditioning. After a brief stint of temping, she landed a bread and butter job as the Assistant to Senior VP Art Director Lou Carvell at Rosenfeld, Sirowitz and Strauss Ad Agency. "When I was working for the ad agency, my friend Rick DePhillips (a member of Actors' Equity who temps in the New York Office while going to school) told me of a job opening at Equity and I thought it would be a great job for me!"

Ms. Stephens started working for AEA in 1992 in the Contracts Department handling Stock, Dinner Theatre, Cabaret, Business Theatre (now called LCCC) and backed up LORT. In 1997, Nicki was transferred to the Production Contract and tours going out under the Production Contract.

Needless to say, Nicki is very familiar with contracts having logged thousands of individual contracts and riders. "The most important thing that I can say is SIGN THE CONTRACT AND THE RIDER AND TURN IT IN BEFORE FIRST REHEARSAL!"

Nicki will act as the Business Representative for the Southeast Region for Developing Theatre. That region includes Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North & South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. She will handle 51 Theatre Companies that are Small Professional Theatres or work under Letters of Agreement.

Ms. Stephens is thrilled about her recent appointment concluding that, "When I started working at Actors' Equity, I realized that I had come home."

David Lotz
Director Communications
November 26, 2002

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