Here's a follow up to my blog about the enormous salaries of stagehands working at Carnegie Hall in New York. In today's New York Times, they interview Clive Gillinson, the executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall. He justifies the stagehands' six figure incomes by stating they work over 80 hours per week. Anything over 40 hours is 1 1/2 to 3 times base salary. The men (they're all men) also don't take much vacation time off so that gets paid back in income. Their salaries also include a share of money off of recordings made at the Hall (nice).
The men are responsible for setting up 800 performances a year in the three stages within Carnegie Hall. He goes on to say that hiring extra crew would not lower the total crew expense to the Hall. Plus since it is the same performer rehearsing in the morning and then playing for the evening performance, it doesn't make sense to have a different crew for day and night work. Their salaries aren't that beyond reason when compared to other stages in New York, where the average stagehand at Avery Fisher Hall makes $290,000 per year.
They describe the stagehands existence as rather tortured. According to James Nomikos, a former supervisor of the Carnegie stagehands, “They sacrifice their family life, their time. By the time their careers are over, they’re broken, with all that lifting.” Hmmm.
So how many of you are out there working 80+ hours per week, sacrificing family life for your meager red-taped, overscrutinized, hassled existence without making $500,000 a year like a Carnegie Hall stagehand?