Up with Directors, Down with Actors

Saw a production of Working last night. The show is based on Studs Terkel's book of interviews with clock punchers from every strata, and in the late '70s won a fistful of Tonys as a Stephen Schwartz (with the assistance of James Taylor) musical. Curiously, this Forbes.com article about the 20 fastest growing and fastest disappearing jobs in the U.S. popped up on my computer this morning. 

oil rig.jpg
The article portends some surprising and contradictory information about the future of employment in this country (Did you know there was a profession called oil roustabout? Me neither; I thought there was only the Elvis kind.), and in theater. 

The good news is that demand for producers and directors is on the rise, with almost 9,000 positions added nationwide since 2006 (this includes radio, tv and film, as well as stage numbers).

But strangely, demand for actors has dropped by around 7,000 spots, and looks as though it's not bottoming out any time soon. Added to another category, a random catchall titled, "Entertainers and Performers, Sports and Related Workers, Miscellaneous" (judging by this photo from the piece, I guess the "miscellaneous" jobs belonged to David Blaine and Criss Angel), the number drops precipitously by an additional 27,000.

Not sure what it all means for theater people, since so many different industries are represented under each section. Other than maybe a glut of two-handers emerging from playwriting workshops last year, I can't figure out the reason for the actor/director imbalance. Maybe animation's success, combined with the proliferation of reality tv and the strength of documentaries are to blame. At least onstage, you can't call it a show without directors, producers and actors.

July 10, 2008 9:40 AM |
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