A snapshot of why it might be a good idea for most theatre artists to think about a different business model than the current corporate Big Box theatre.
Here are the salaries of the artistic directors for two of America's major LORT theatres:
AD #1: $325,000
AD #2: $400,00
And Managing Director salaries for the same theatres:
MD #1: $308,000
MD #2: $208,000
AD #1 and MD #1 oversee a LORT B+ contract. Minimum actor salary for this period (these are figures that are two years old): $754 per week -- total if 52 weeks worked: $39,208
AD#2 and MD#2 oversee a LORT A contract. Minimum actor salary: $800. AD #2 is on a 40 week contract -- weekly salary: $10,000.
Compared to CEO salaries in corporate America, having a leader making between 8 and 13 times as much as the lowest paid actor (we won't compare it to the lowest paid employee) is pretty reasonable. But then, those CEO's are also overseeing a revenue stream considerably larger than the $16M - $29M of these theatres.
If we compare these salary to the annual revenues, we see another story: the head of Dell, for instance, received 0.7% of Dell's annual revenue as salary, whereas AD #2 received 1.4% of the theatre's revenue. Combining the AD & MD, Theatre #1 pays salaries of nearly 4% of annual revenues to two people, and Theatre #2 pay 2.1% of annual revenues.
Hey, I'm not griping about people making a decent salary. And in many ways, these people are at the top of their professions. But I agree with George Bernard Shaw, who said he didn't have anything against money, he thought everybody ought to have some. Somehow, something seems out of whack.