Welcome to McElrath Cabaret–We hope you enjoy our cabaret blog!
Thursday is the day of the week when McElrath Cabaret features some of our favorite cabaret blogs, websites or performers. Today we’re featuring the union for cabaret artists, and it’s called the American Guild of Variety Artists, or AGVA. AGVA also has a page on Facebook, and a brief entry on Wikipedia.
AGVA is part of the AFL-CIO, and it is an entertainment union. It covers, “performing artists and stage managers for live performances in the variety field. The variety area of performance includes singers & dancers in touring shows and in theatrical revues (non-book shows…book revues may be under Actors’ Equity jurisdiction), theme park performers, skaters, circus performers, comedians & stand-up comics, cabaret & club artists,lecturers/poets/monologists/spokespersons, and variety performers working at private parties & special events.” It was founded in 1939. They have offices in New York City as well as Los Angeles. Poet Rod Mc Kuen is the current Executive President of AGVA.
Performers who work under AGVA contracts include those held at Radio City Music Hall, at Disneyland, Universal Studios and Magic Mountain, those in revues including Sugar Babies, Our Sinatra, and Swing, as well as many more. There is some crossover depending upon the type of project an artist untakes with Equity, SAG and AFTRA. AGVA is a closed union, so what this means is that you can only join when you have been offered a contract to be in an AGVA-sanctioned show, and you can only be in an AGVA-sanctioned show if you are a member of the union, which is the same way that Equity is. What this means is that it’s really tough to get into the union. They do hold open auditions at times for their revues, and this is probably the best way for someone who would like to try to become a union member to have a chance at doing so.
It is great to be a member of AGVA, however, because there are several benefits for cabaret artists. ” AGVA, in accordance with industry standards and Federal labor regulations, negotiates, sets and enforces salary minimums, as well as conditions of employment such as, rehearsal & performance hours, overtime provisions, safe & sanitary work conditions, travel stipulations, vacation & sick pay, publicity & promotion, audition procedures, and general work rules. AGVA members accrue medical, dental and optical coverage while employed under our contracts, as well as beyond the term of the contract & after the period of time actually worked, based on the benefits plan of the AGVA Welfare Trust Fund, the union’s self-insured Plan.”
The union dues are quite reasonable, and based upon your earnings in the field of cabaret. Dues start at $72 per year, and range up to $795 annually.
Here is a video of someone who has been a member of AGVA: Liza Minnelli! This is actually an interview that she gave with James Lipton on Inside The Actor’s Studio–enjoy!
I encourage you to check out the American Guild of Variety Artists if you are a cabaret entertainer!
Is there a cabaret blog, website or performer that you would like to see featured on McElrath Cabaret? Leave us a note in the comments below—we always love to hear from our readers!
We appreciate your support!
Till next time,
ps–The Cabaret Soiree Link Party is still going strong–you can visit anytime to click on the links and see what others have posted, or you can share your own recent cabaret blog or cabaret website link from now through Thursday. Link is below.
Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:
Tuesdays: Cabaret Tip Tuesday
Wednesdays: Ask A Cabaret Question
Thursdays: Featured Cabaret Blog, Website, Performer
Fridays: Cabaret Through Time