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re: Let’s show some love to the pit musicians/crew
Last Edit: waterfall 11:48 pm EST 01/13/22
Posted by: waterfall 11:35 pm EST 01/13/22
In reply to: re: Let’s show some love to the pit musicians - JereNYC 04:58 pm EST 01/13/22

"I can't think of another job category where someone in a position must find and train potential covers or replacements at their own expense on their own time."

The show's musician is the one that has to find their sub, but it's the sub putting in the unpaid time and work, as they "shadow" the musician as they perform during the show.

" I cannot imagine why their union wouldn't have addressed this issue decades ago."

They may well have. Unions do not always get what they negotiate for. Back in the aughts, 802 struck over a proposed "virtual orchestra". Its purpose was to replace multiple live musicians with a machine in order to bring costs down. The strike closed Broadway for 2 days. They were successful in that case, because the "karaoke machine" (as it was derisively known) was actually tried out and was a miserable failure.

IATSE (Local One and International, can't speak to the others) was in the same situation until some years ago. Crew still have to find their own subs (which honestly, does make sense), but now subs are paid to train. Here's the thing. Most of you know that actors' standbys and understudies are contracted for and paid to be dedicated to one specific show, available at a moment's notice. They are on site.

This is not true of musicians and stagehands. Subs are trained, but since they obviously can't survive on one show's occasional work, they are forced to learn other shows. As a result, they are often unavailable, particularly in the case of an emergency.

More than once, I was working on my own show when an accident/sudden illness occurred, on a show I had subbed for in the past, close to curtain. None of their subs were available on such short notice, so my sub, who lived in Times Square, raced to my theater to run my show, while I dashed to revisit a show I hadn't run in years.
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