A few weeks ago in Theatre Management we had a conversation about the profit being made off of Hamilton’s success. And just last week we had another conversation in THIS class about the hundreds and thousands and millions of dollars coming from this production. YAY HAMILTON. YAY LIN. YAY THEATRE. Right?
I follow Leslie Odom, Jr. on Twitter (from his glory days on SMASH), and he recently retweeted something from @StandForHamInfo about actors being compensated fairy.
I went down the rabbit-hole of this twitter and its subsequent hashtag, #Stand4Ham. What I found amazed me.
This hashtag is in support for the original cast of Hamilton — the 35 actors — to receive 1% of the box-office gross.
To re-state what Ilana told us about who gets what:
“The Public Theater receives a weekly royalty of 1 percent of the adjusted box-office gross. As the sole author, Miranda, 36, gets a 7 percent cut – which means that in a typical week of eight shows he can make about $105,000 in royalties. (That’s on top of his negotiated salary for starring as Alexander Hamilton.) Both parties get an extra 0.5 percent once the show is 110 percent recouped. Miranda also pays the underlying rights owner (author Ron Chernow, whose Hamilton biography served as the musical’s source material) from his share. Producers Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs and Jill Furman split a 3 percent share, plus a weekly $3,000 administrative office fee. Director Thomas Kail (2 percent), choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (1.5 percent) and other key creatives also are part of the royalty pool.” [The Hollywood Reporter]
This brings up interesting questions.
As an original cast member should they be entitled to the royalties once they are no longer part of the company?
How integral was the cast in the conception of the piece? What makes one person integral and another not? Were there other work-shoppers who would be considered part of this original creative team and should also be fighting for their cut?
Why is Book of Mormon the only Broadway production where the original team succeeded in getting their cut? What makes them different from Hamilton?