I worked this summer under an Equity contract at Park Playhouse in Albany, NY. This is a really fantastic company led by Owen Smith and some of the staff at Albany's Palace Theatre. The quality of the production I did was top notch from the sets and lighting to the 13 piece band with union musicians backing us up. Their director, Michael LoPorto, who they frequently use and is NYC based is a total genius and absolutely amazing to work with. Equity housing was at the Hilton Garden Inn only 2 blocks from the venue. Standard hotel room with small kitchenette. The Hilton was very clean and also had incredibly friendly staff. I was also provided a brand new company car a weekly stipend for food. Park Playhouse operates on a Guest Artist Tier 2 contract. The city is only 2 hours and 45 minutes away so completely possible to make it back on days off. Amtrak is close as well as Mega Bus. Show schedule is Tuesdays-Saturdays at 8pm. The only drawback to working at Park Playhouse for some is that it is an outdoor theatre. You have to come prepared to deal with performing in the heat and dealing with the occasional bug situation on stage. But doing a musical for 1,500 plus people under the stars is totally magical and in my opinion makes up for any outdoor glitches that occasionally occur. I can't speak for my fellow non-equity cast mates but they all seemed very happy to me and incredibly taken care of.
On a side note, Mr. Smith has a reputation for turning theatre companies around. The good folks at Park Playhouse/The Palace recently acquired the troubled Cohoes Music Hall. I can't wait to see what amazing things Owen Smith and company will do with Cohoes.
I'd work at Park Playhouse again in a heart beat. If you get a contact here, take it. And now that they'll be taking over CMH, I'd work there too!
Best theatre experience I've ever had. If you ever get offered a job there, take it.
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