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Ballet girls get from $8 to $15 a week; the prompter, $25 to $30; the call-boy, $15; the property man's salary ranges from $15 to $30. Then there are men up in the rigging loft who attend to the flies and the curtain wheel, and various assistants, at salaries of $20 and $10. There are from two to three scene painters at a salary of from $60 to $100. The back door keeper has $10, and two women to clean the theatre every day at $6 each. The orchestra consists of the leader at $100, and from twelve to sixteen musicians, whose salaries range from $30 to $18 a week. The gas man and fireman get $6 to $25 a week; costumer or wardrobe-keeper, $20 to $40; dressers, $5 or $6; ushers, $4 to $6; doorkeepers, $12; policemen, $5; treasurer, $25 to $40. The pay
of “stars" is a very different matter. Usually these ladies and gentlemen play for a share in the receipts at the door; and when they do this, of course their pay is regulated almost wholly by their "drawing" power.
Sometimes, however, the most celebrated actors and actresses in the land have engaged themselves for a fixed salary per week or per night. In the case of very popular players this sum is sometimes almost fabulously large.
The largest salary that has ever been paid to a star in this country is that which was paid to Joseph Jefferson, at Booth's theatre, in August and September, 1869, namely, $500 per night.
Even at this price he proved an immensely profitable star, drawing an average of $1,200 every night throughout the season.
By the “sharing" system stars often reap immense profits. Any popular star who could not make $1,000 a week for his or her own share, at a metropolitan theatre, would feel very much dissatisfied.
I have myself made that sum per week while starring in the West.
POUNDS, SHILLINGS AND PENCE.
A London journal says:
It is curious to mark the difference in the salaries paid to dramatic performers during the last hundred years. If we look into Garrick's theatre, we find the Roscius himself at the head, with a stipend of £2 15s. 6d. per night; Barry and his wife, £3 6s. 8d.; John Palmer and his wife, £2; King, the unrivaled Sir Peter Teazle and Lord Ogleby, £1 6s. 8d.; Parsons, £1 6s. 8d.; Mrs. Pritchard, £2 6s. 8d; Mrs. Cibber, £2 10s.; Miss Pope, 13s. 4d.; and Signor Guestinelli, the principal singer, £1 13s. 4d. Succeeding the days of Garrick came a host of distinguished performers, including Lewis, Quick, Bannister, Munden, Mrs. Jordan, Miss Farren, cum multis aliis, not one of whom ever received "star" salaries. John Kemble, as actor and manager, was content with £55 14s. per week; George Frederick Cooke received £25; and Mrs. Jordan, in her zenith, an average of £31 10s. Drury Lane, in seasons 1812-13, boasted of an excellent company, including John Johnstone, who was retained at £15 per week, and Dowton, who received £16. Convent Garden, at the same period, numbered among its members Emery (whose highest salary during his career was £14 per week), Mathews, Fawcett, Blanchard, Liston and Simmons, and their united receipts from the treasury were less than has since been paid to one actor at a metropolitan minor theatre. Edmund Kean's first engagement at Drury Lane, in 1814, was for three years, ranging from £8 to £10 per week. This was subsequently converted into a contract at £50 per week. Eight years prior to this great change in the fortunes of Kean—in the year 1806— he was playing at the IIaymarket, unnoticed and unknown, his salary at that time being £2 per week. Twenty years later, when wrung in heart and fame, physically and mentally weak, he received at the same house £50 per night. As a contrast to the sums paid during the past century, we may state that at Drury Lane, when under the manage
ment of the late Stephen Price, the nightly salary of Edmund Kean was £60, and that of Madame Vestris and Liston £25 each; whilst Farren received £35 weekly, Jones £35, James Wallack £35, and Harley £30. In 1838, Tyrone Power was receiving £96 weekly, from the Adelphi, and Farren £40 from the Olympic. It was once remarked, in reference to the enormous sums lavished upon “stars,” that the President of America was not so highly paid as Ellen Tree; whilst the Premier of Great Britain had a less salary than Mr. Macready. Madame Malibran was said by the same writer to draw five times as much money as the Colonial Secretary, and Mr. Farren nearly twice as much as the representative of the Home Office.
A story is told of a little thin actor of the name of Hamilton, connected with the theatre in Crow street, Dublin, when under the management of Mr. Barry.
To this performer the chieftain one morning remarked“ Hamilton, you might have thrown a little more spirit into your part last night.” “To be sure I might sir, and could,” replied Hamilton; “but with my salary of forty shillings per week, do you think I ought to act with a bit more spirit or a bit better? Your Mr. Woodward there has a matter of a thousand a year for his acting. Give me half a thousand, and see how I'll act; but for a salary of two pounds a week, Mr. Barry, I cannot afford to give
I you my best acting, and I will not.”
The Noble Army of " Jupes.”—Custom of Laughing at these people.
Rough Treatment by Managers. — A Frightened “Savage.”—Utility People.-Fallen Fortunes.— Ups and Downs of Actors. — Making the Most of One's Opportunities.-Attention to Trifles.-How the Celebrated Comedian Robson made his First Hit. — “Villikins and His Dinah.”—The Story of a Utility Man.-Green Ibid.—The Summons of Death.
When, in the course of theatrical events, it becomes necessary for a manager to represent on his stage the British army or the cohorts of the late Confederacy; when a large quantity of sturdy throats are wanted, to bawl
Long live the King!"or to cry “We will! we will !" or to clamor, “Down with the tyrant!" then doth the stage-manager depute his customary instrument to go into the streets and engage a lot of supernumeraries.
The individual who has this duty to discharge is called the captain of the supernumeraries, and he knows where to find the individuals he wants. It is related of a London functionary of' this sort, that he had an ingenious mode of proceeding in these circumstances. Having sought out an individual in an advanced stage of starvation, he addressed him in some such terms as the following: “Look here, my man, if you want employment I'll let you have it at five bob a week. If you like the job say so, if you don't I can find somebody else who will. Of course six is what the management offers, but I can't be bothering myself for nothing, and as I do you a favor you mustn't grumble at the per centage. Generally the man didn't make any “fuss" about it.
Whether the same custom is in vogue in this country I don't know. But it is beyond doubt that the lot of a supernumerary is far from being an enviable onii
A FRIGHTENED SAVAGE.
It is the custom to laugh at these people, to cover them with contumely, to hail them (from the galleries) with the cry of “Soup! Soup !" and otherwise make their lives miserable.
This is quite unnecessary. The “supe" generally has a hard enough time of it behind the scenes. He mustn't mind being sworn at, or, if need be, shaken. If attentive and industrious, he may gradually rise to a position of adthority, but in nineteen cases out of twenty the man who has begun as a “super” concludes his theatrical experience in the same capacity.
An amusing anecdote, illustrative of the terrible reality of Mr. Forrest's acting, was told me the other day by a veteran actor.
Forrest was playing the character of Metamora at the Holliday Street Theatre, in Baltimore, when he was in the prime of vigorous manhood. As the play developes, five or six ruffians (generally “supers”) are in pursuit of his wife Nahmedkee. Just as the head villain has laid hands on her, the “chief of the Wampanoags ” (Forrest) rushes in, rescues his squaw, and, leveling his musket along the line of the eyes of the six “savages," shouts, “Which of you has lived too long ?”
The fearful earnestness with which this line was given nearly frightened one of the “supes” out of his witsleaving no doubt in the mind of the trembling coward that he was to be dispatched on the spot. With an expression of the utmost terror, he yelled out:
“Not me! not me! the supe with a tin tomahawk!"
Mr. Forrest dropped his piece, and took occasion to embrace his wife during the convulsions of the audience.
It is customary among the careless to confound the “supes” with the “utilities.” But the utility people are a step higher on the ladder. They are, in fact, actors, and though their parts are usually light, they are parts,