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February 26, 2023

Executive Compensation at Actors Equity Association

by Anne Paddock

The Actors Equity Association (Actors Equity) is a tax-exempt, non-profit labor union (a 501 (c) (5)) representing those who work (i.e. actors, stage managers) in live theatrical performance.

Headquartered in New York City, Actors Equity also has office in Chicago, North Hollywood, and Orlando that represent an estimated 51,000 workers.  There are 85 independent voting members (Councillors) of the governing body; an estimated 51 (60%) of whom are female while 34 (40%) are male.

Actors Equity is a relatively small labor union as measured by revenue.  In 2020, Actors Equity reported total revenue of $26 million most of which came from memberships dues. An estimated 51,000 members paid $20 million in dues, which equates to an average of $400 per member.  It is important to point out that membership dues vary and can be basic (at about $200 annually) to 2.5% of gross income ($2,500 for an annual gross income of $100,000).

Expenses totaled $25 million in 2020 with the largest expense reported to be compensation.  216 employees received $16 million in compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $74,000.  18 employees received more than $100,000 with the 8 most highly compensated reported to be:

  • $502,299:  Mary McColl, Executive Director
  • $346,305:  Steven DiPaola, Asst Exec Director of Finance
  • $298,890:  Gail Gabler, Western Regional Director
  • $256,634:  Brandon Lorenz, Director of Communications
  • $227,130:  Joseph DeMichele, Comptroller
  • $220,437:  Douglas Beebe, Director of Information
  • $207,433:  Larry Lorizak, Senior Business Rep
  • $206,232:  Russell Lehrer, Asst to the Eastern Reg Director

As illustrated above, the most highly compensated employee was Mary McColl, the Executive Director who has received more has $2.3 million in compensation over the last 5 years:

  • $502,299:  2020
  • $484,275:  2019
  • $483,592:  2018
  • $433,519:  2017
  • $400,418:  2016

12 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 5 most highly compensated reported to be:

  • $674,079:  Cohen, Weiss, Simon, of NY, NY for legal work
  • $365,942:  Verizon, of Albany, NY for telecommunications
  • $311,224:  CDW Direct, of Lincolnshire, IL for IT support and supplies
  • $234,158:  Perfect Printing Solutions, of Smithtown, NY for printing
  • $185,593:  IVCI, of Hauppauge, NY for IT and AV

To read the IRS Form 990 (2019 for the year ending March 31, 2020), click here.

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