Save L.A’s 99 Seat theatres

99orgIts a complex issue that doesn’t need to be.  There’s an agreement with the 99 Seat Theatres and the Actors Equity Association that exempts smaller non-profit theatres from paying a union scale in exchange for allowing actors to hone their craft, make “art” if you will.  Its been in force for ages, it what allows dozens of small theatres spread about Los Angeles to operate.  Without it they would wither and actors more interested in the art and developing their talent will be shut out.

Step in I Love to put forth all the facts and explain why its important and what you can do to preserve the agreement with Actors Equity.  Within their website are many links to tools to help your voice be heard if you wish to keep 99 Seat Theatre alive in Los Angeles.

Of course I have an emotional interest in keeping 99 Seat Theatre alive in Los Angeles. It goes beyond keeping my friends busy, its about keeping art alive in the city.  The loss of the 99 Seat Theatre would be devastating to them as well as the businesses around the theatres that depend on the traffic they generate.  I’ve taken my love of small theatre to the next level and am working on the board of directors with Sierra Madre Playhouse to help them grow and evolve in the community.  I don’t take this potential loss lightly.

Please support this cause in any way you can.  Tweet your support and use the hashtags #ILove99, #Pro99 . #LAThtr


2 thoughts on “Save L.A’s 99 Seat theatres”


    I have an IDEA that I wish to throw into discussion here in order to see what people think of this idea as a possible solution to Save Small 99 Seat Theater here in LA.

    Please feel Free to respond. If enough of you like it, we can call it the WELTMAN PLAN. (Hey, I have to feed my ego at least a little for coming up with it.) ( :

    We have Actors at every Financial Level imaginable in this city. Some That Struggle just to find something to eat tonight. Some that Live in Luxury.

    If AEA’s goal is to make sure that ALL Actors who do Theater in LA get paid at least Minimum Wage for our WORK, as an ACTOR, I do not have any Issue with that whatsoever. I think as Actors, we would all LOVE to be paid.

    In order for this to happen, what EQUITY SHOULD do however, is to CREATE A FUND to help SUPPORT the THEATER Scene in LA.

    IF all of the ACTORS, Producers, Directors, Production Companies, Casting Directors, and affiliated Artists in this town who are highly successful and Earn 7 digits a year, (and there are many “Hollywood Stars” that fit this category), were to give back to their fellow actors (and Artists) by adding to a FUND for 99 Seat Theaters, Theater in LA will survive.

    This also means that all the 99 Seat Theaters that contract to use Equity Actors, must also contribute a substantial portion of their proceeds to this Actors Fund Pool. This will also help experimental Theater in LA survive. The Richer companies, will end up contributing more to the fund than their actors take out. Actors in the “Struggling Companies” will be draw from this fund in a way that they will still be paid and the prescribed Equity rate without being an extra financial burden on the Struggling Company.

    This means the Actors would be paid at the same time.

    If a 99 seat theater produces a play that is not public domain, the writer gets paid through Royalties. That is calculated as part of the BUDGET for a Producer to produce a play. If it is a Musical, and the Music isn’t “Canned”, then usually the Musicians get paid. So what if all the 99 Seat Theaters that use Equity Actors were to budget a certain Percentage, such as 10% of the Budget of the show to go towards this Fund?

    The 99 seat Equity Waiver Theaters would then no longer pay a “Stipend” directly to the Actors. Instead, they would contribute to “The Fund”.

    The Company would then report “Time Sheets” to Equity, of the Actors working in their productions, along with financial reports of their productions gains and loses.

    At this point, all Equity Actors would be paid accordingly from this Fund at a Rate that is Minimum Wage for their hours worked.

    This would also have an effect in how many NEW Actors will actually WANT to Join EQUITY here in LA. Then Equity would also get far more INCOME from INITIATION Fees, which a portion of such Fees will ALSO go Towards this FUND.

    In this manner, much like in Major League Baseball, the Richer Companies and producers in LA will help subsidize the less fortunate 99 Seat companies (Not unlike the Dodgers and Yankees help subsidize the smaller market teams in MLB) to keep them also alive to the benefit of the LA Theater Community as a WHOLE.

    This would be a WIN-WIN-WIN Solution to the 99 Seat issue that we have today. The ACTORS would WIN I this scenario. EQUITY Wins in this Scenario. Theater and Experimental Theater in LA would win in this Scenario.

    What do you all Think?

    1. A lot of good talking points and things to consider.
      The problem with your scenario is that you assume 99 Seat Theatres are for profit ventures. Most I’m aware of are non-profit and consider themselves luck to break even over the course of the year. Getting the larger for profit theatres to buy into the program to fund the 99 Seats actors is iffy.

Comments are closed.