Theatre Musicians

NEW! Take a look at the Photo Gallery available on the Main Menu to the left.

This is the Home Page of the Theatre Musicians Association


Please use the menu to the left to explore our site.      JOIN TMA!   

You Are Invited to the 26th Annual TMA Conference! 

The 26th annual TMA Conference will once again be held online via Zoom, on August 9 and 10. TMA members are encouraged to take advantage of the online format and attend. Please see the most recent edition of the Pit Bulletin for registration information. Or, contact President Tony D'Amico. for assistance.

Click here for the conference agenda.

The Theatre Musicians Association condemns in the strongest possible terms the disgraceful, callous remarks made by Sir Cameron Mackintosh in an attempt to defend his mercenary decision to reduce the West End Phantom of the Opera orchestra from 27 to 14 musicians. The assertion that he is "creating art" by slashing the orchestra is nothing less than absurd. Sir Mackintosh's decision has nothing to do with art, but everything to do with profit – profit generated at the expense of talented musicians whose artistry is integral to realizing the beauty of the score and the success of the show. These actions demonstrate his belief that he can reduce the quality of the production's orchestra without fear of reprisals from the ticket-buying public, knowing full well that people will not pay full price to see half the cast or half the set. We urge Sir Mackintosh to apologize for his remarks and reinstate these musicians to the orchestra.

"I've had a terrible year trying to keep on as many as I can, but our job is to try to put a show on that can run and be brilliant. Am I sorry? I'm sorry they're upset, but I do find it odd why musicians would want to do the same thing year after year. I believe we should not be holding jobs for actors and musicians ad infinitum. This is not the Civil Service, we are creating art."

-Sir Cameron Mackintosh, The Telegraph

Hello TMA member,

 I am pleased to present to you a set of questions to be considered when you and your locals enter into discussions regarding return-to-work protocols with theater producers and management. This document is being sent to all Local officers by the AFM International President's office, and will also appear in the upcoming issue of the International Musician. However, I wanted you all to see it as soon as it was approved by the International Executive Board and AFM President Ray Hair.

I would like to thank all the TMA chapter directors for their insightful input as this document was being developed, and also National TMA Vice President Heather Boehm and Secretary/Treasurer Mark Pinto for their invaluable assistance in its creation.


 In Solidarity,
Tony D'Amico , President
Theatre Musicians Association


Check out the latest entry in our News and Issues Page!

Check out the latest Itinerary updates!


View Photos from the Conference

Read our President's November 2019
International Musician Article

Read the latest Pit Bulletin!

Introducing the Audience to the Pit

Musical theatre and technology have always had a bit of an uneasy relationship. The modern musical was born out of the light opera traditions of Gilbert and Sullivan in the 19th century, where it was the norm for large pit orchestras to accompany the singers on stage. The �Golden Age Of Theatre (1940�s-1960�s) saw the premiers of many of the classics of the art form by the likes of Porter, Berlin, Rodgers and Hart, and Gershwin, and culminating with the shows of Rodgers and Hammerstein. As a rule, those shows used large orchestras. Oklahoma (1943) used 28 musicians in the pit, and Carousel (1945) had an orchestra of 39. Not only did audiences expect a show to have an ensemble of this size, there was no viable technology that could replace musicians.

Things changed with the introduction of the synthesizer into musical theatre. The 1987 Broadway contract allowed the synthesizer into pits, and the instrument was used mainly to enhance the sound of orchestras still numbering in the 20�s. The 21st century brought us the Virtual Pit Orchestra; a devise whose manufacturer claimed could emulate the entire pit orchestra, with just one person, known as the �tapper� controlling tempo and dynamics.

Click here to read more.

TMA Travelers' Forum on Facebook!
Click Here.

Click Here to Return to Top of Page

The AFM applauds the passage of the FAA Bill that sets a
consistent national policy allowing musical instruments on airplanes

After five years and 23 short-term extensions, Congress has passed legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the next four years. Included in the bill are provisions that create a uniform national policy regarding musical instruments on airplanes. Any instrument that can be safely stored in the overhead compartment or underneath the seat may be brought on board as carry-on luggage. Additionally, the bill sets standard weight and size requirements for checked instruments, and permits musicians to purchase a seat for oversized instruments, such as cellos, that are too delicate to be checked. Existing law allowed each airline to set their own policy regarding musical instruments, and size requirements varied widely for both carry-on and checked baggage. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) has been lobbying Congress to enact such a policy for nearly a decade.

"This is great news for professional musicians throughout the U.S. and Canada who carry the tools of our trade (our instruments) aboard commercial aircraft," said AFM President Ray Hair. "Ending the confusion over musical instruments as carry-on baggage has been a top legislative priority for nearly a decade. I am proud of our Government Relations Director, Hal Ponder and his assistant Laura Brigandi in our Washington legislative office for seeing the effort through. Musicians can now fly in friendlier skies."

The FAA reauthorization was passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, February 3 by a 248-169 vote. It subsequently passed the Senate on Monday, February 6, 75-20.  The President is expected to sign the bill into law.

Why Join Us?


Click Here to Return to Top of Page