Michael Bennett, who helped create the workshop agreement, stands before the cast of 'A Chorus Line.' (Photo: Bettman)
Should actors be paid for their contribution to shows that go on to be hits? I’ve been going to the theater regularly since I turned 10 (1962, the Martin Beck, Jerry Herman’s “Milk and Honey,” with Molly Picon) and as an ink-stained kvetch since “for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf” (1976, the Public). One constant that has endured across those decades is my reverence for actors. I’m in awe of them, the mystery of their talent, the ferocity of their commitment and perhaps above all their generosity. They strip themselves bare emotionally and sometimes…

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  1. Alan Eisenberg, executive director of Actors’ Equity from 1981-2006, writes:
    Labor qua labor is as essential to the creation of a production as is cash to the creation of a production. A fortiori, labor and cash are on equal footing. And the loss of a job ( a show closing) is more significant to labor ( a worker’s sole asset) than to the holder of many assets. It therefore follows that actors are entitled to a royalty payment, whether from first week or from recoupment to be discussed.