Now we know why a ticket to big venue events cost a month’s salary in New York City. We still don’t know why the NY Board of Education has refused to fire a molester, continuing his salary and all union benefits for THIRTEEN YEARS, but…we do know about the cost of big venue events, and about the union stagehands of Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Working at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall provides quite an excellent income, even in New York City.
Turns out that it is remarkably well-paid, however. Would you believe $422,599 a year? Plus $107,445 in benefits and deferred compensation?
That is what a fellow named Dennis O’Connell makes at Carnegie Hall. He is the props manager, the highest-paid stagehand.
Four other guys, two of them carpenters, two electricians, are paid somewhat lesser amounts, ranging down to $327,257, plus $76,459 in benefits and deferred compensation, for the junior member of the team, John Goodson, an electrician.
The New York Times broke this story last week. The reporter, Daniel J. Wakin, got it from a publicly available document, Carnegie Hall’s tax return for the 2007-08 season.
The hall was legally obliged to disclose the pay of the chief executive, Clive Gillinson, and the names and pay of the next five highest-paid employees. All five were stagehands.
Gillinson, who doubles as artistic director, was paid $946,581, nearly twice as much as O’Connell, the props manager, but not out of line for top arts executives in Manhattan….
The Carnegie stagehands’ pay was something else again, but not, as it turns out, unique. At Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, the average stagehand salary and benefits package is $290,000 a year.
Carnegie’s budget has shrunk from $84.5 million in 2008 to $70 million today.