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Gig&Tell: Hangar Theatre

  • Wonderful Place    
    04/26/2012  7:22pm

    It's been 5 years since I've worked there, and it was under a different artistic director, but I had a great experience- and that was before they remodeled the theatre!

    The Hangar treats all their actors well (EMCs and equity alike), pays well, provides EMC points, and likes to hire people back for future seasons.

    I can't vouch for the housing because I've heard it's varied year to year, but it was all adequate the two summers I worked there.

    The best thing about working for the Hangar is the wonderful community. Ithaca is a beautiful place to spend a summer and the people are fantastic. It's pretty much vacation and doing shows at night.

    The only less than positive thing I would say is that I've heard that they've been hiring less professional working EMCs, and instead using local high school students, or more of their LAB company members (college students who pay a few thousand dollars to study for the summer with the chance of possibly getting a mainstage show). The Lab kids are talented, but the more lab kids they cast, then fewer NYC-based professional working non-union actors will be cast. And sadly, the production that I saw with high school students made what would otherwise be a truly moving production, more of a community show.

    That said- I loved it, so go see for yourself!

    A beautiful region and fabulous directors. There was some wonderful talent with the leads...ensemble members are kind of a joke. It seems it practically only takes an application to become an intern at the Hangar. Sloppy performances in Gypsy; however well cast Equity actors. To think the ensemble was given points for their work is disappointing as an Equity actor. Also the fact that they were given points for the time they spent on non-union shows...not legit, undeserving, and does not abide by Equity codes. Every Equity actor seemed quite frustrated with these youngsters while I was there. I'm sure the Hangar saves quite a bit of money by using the interns. I would dismiss a credit on a resume that says 'Ensemble at Hangar' as it is says nothing to me.

    01/14/2014  1:06pm

    The new artistic director is completely overhauling this company and doing great work.

    Pay is on the low side while they rebuild with her, but I would love to work there again.

    10/17/2014  5:44pm

    The Hangar is great. Great pay, fun people, artistic integrity.

    The Lab company perform in their own shows while the Mainstage actors perform in their own shows, 2 separate things.

    01/27/2015  11:16pm

    I worked here in 2017 when the current artistic director, Michael Barakiva, took over as full time AD (he was the interim AD during the previous season). Michael is very approachable and has a great attitude. I enjoyed working with him. He directed the show I was in, and he was a great person to collaborate with. He welcomed actors' ideas and was willing to let us explore our impulses.

    Overall, I enjoyed my experience at the Hangar. I was in a musical. The cast was a mix of Broadway vets, early/middle career actors, and Lab Company members (aka college students). Our Lab members were professional, focused, and always ready to work; they added so much to our show! The rest of the cast was the same - talented, focused, and ready to work. We didn't have any crazies or divas, so the atmosphere was always pleasant. Our musical director, orchestra, and choreographer were excellent! I was always proud of the work that our company did, and production values were generally good. Our show was during the summer, and it usually performed to a house at 60-75% capacity.

    Housing was spread around Ithaca. One of my cast mates and I lived in an apartment complex that was about a 15 minute walk from the Cornell campus (which is where the rehearsal hall is located). Our MD and another cast mate lived the opposite direction in downtown Ithaca; their apartments were also about a 15 min walk from the rehearsal hall. The Lab Company members lived in apartments on the Ithaca College campus (a 10 min drive from the rehearsal hall). Gym access was given to all company members, and it was for the Ithaca College gym; that was several miles away (over some serious hills), so you needed a car to get there. The Ithaca College gym was very nice. It was big, well-equipped, practically new, and never crowded since it was summer. Our cast had access to one company car; it had difficulty starting sometimes (no lie, it took 5 min to get the key to turn in the ignition - otherwise it worked fine).

    Ithaca isn't the most exciting town, but it is charming. The main attraction here is the abundance of gorges and waterfalls. Please visit them during your contract- they are refreshing and beautiful! One of the gorges is right outside the rehearsal hall, so you can enjoy it during your lunch breaks. There are also wineries within a 45 min drive of town, so check those out.

    The main area that this theatre could improve on is company management. The 2017 company manager told me that the position is technically a part-time position (i.e. they're not on staff year round), so the person who fills it is generally new every season. The company manager told me that she didn't start work until a few weeks before the first summer show went into rehearsal. That meant it took her a few weeks to get the swing of how this particular theatre functions. The company manager was supported by three interns who were college students. Some of the interns had a "can't be bothered attitude", but I found that as long as you were polite and direct about what you needed, they would eventually help you out. Just don't be shy about sending a couple of gentle texts or emails!

    Company management didn't openly share transportation options to the contract with me. If you get a contract here, ask to be booked on the Big Red Bullet or C2C Bus. Both of those are express busses that go from Midtown/UES directly to Ithaca (a 5 hour ride). When the company manager contacted me about transportation to Ithaca, she just asked how I planned on arriving. I assumed that Greyhound was the only option, so I requested a Greyhound ticket. Because I wasn't presented all of the options, and I didn't do my own research, I was on a 7.5 hour crowded bus ride. Not terrible, but not as nice as the shorter, less crowded bus ride I took back to NYC on Big Red Bullet at the end of the contract.

    Hangar contracts are short, and I think they are worth your time. You should definitely take it if you're offered one!

    08/22/2018  9:04am