Wanted: A Theatre Home:
The span of a theatre actor's career is closely tied to how long he or she is willing to live a gypsy lifestyle. I'm not implying a steady regional living can't be made or that there aren't actors who comfortably ride the tide at a particular theatre company; it's just a very difficult feat to pull off. The working theatre actors I know -- and by that I mean the ones who work regularly in esteemed Equity theatres -- continuously hopscotch the country to make a living. They don't own homes, have children, or plan much further than a season ahead.
Jerry Lapidus, who spent years working with developing theatres for Actors' Equity Association and currently serves as the company manager at Seaside Music Theater in Florida, was similarly discouraging. " 'Actor for Life' is looking for the dream of regional theatre that no longer exists, if indeed it ever did," he writes in an email. "This was the idea behind the whole regional theatre movement and the development of the League of Resident Theatres. The concept was that theatres would hire permanent companies of actors, who would move to the surrounding cities, work regularly at the theatre, and have, you know, a real life, rather than just being hired as 'stock' players for a show or a tour. This is pretty much gone, even for the few theatres that once had it. Some theatres today at least try to hire for a season, if not individual shows, but that's usually the best one can hope for."