We know Guthrie Theater Director Joe Dowling is a pretty amazing and lifesaving part of the Minneapolis arts community, but is he really worth more than $682,000 a year?
The local theater and non-profit community is raising some questions about Dowling's hefty paycheck, the Star Tribune says
. Even when his one-time $100,000 bonus is removed from his 2007 compensation, Dowling still makes more dough than his peers in New York City. Can we really compete with that?
The theater in internationally known as a regional theater and some believe Dowling is deserving of the credit.
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"Minnesota is the 21st-largest state, and the Twin Cities are the 16th-largest metro area, but in many categories our nonprofits, including arts organizations, rank in the top three," said Jon Pratt, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. "If our top-compensated people rank in the top tier, it's because our organizations rank in the top tier."
How he compares:
Todd Haimes heads New York's Roundabout company, which has six stages in several locations and a budget of $50 million, nearly twice that of the Guthrie. In 2007, Haimes was paid $487,439.
At Lincoln Center Theater, with two stages and a budget 25 percent bigger than the Guthrie's, artistic director André Bishop made $428,183 in compensation and benefits in 2007.
Elsewhere nationwide, regional-theater heads are paid far less than Dowling is. Robert Falls is artistic director of Chicago's Goodman Theatre, which several years ago completed a $46 million expansion. Director of such acclaimed Broadway transfers as "Death of a Salesman" and "Long Day's Journey Into Night," he was paid $354,657 in fiscal year 2006, the latest year for which tax filings are available.
Martha Lavey, artistic director of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, earned $180,000 in 2006. Her company transferred Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning "August: Osage County" to Broadway, where it won the Tony for best play last year.
So has Dowling rightfully earned that kind of cash? He can surely take credit for much of the Guthrie's success, but isn't it odd he is making so much more than his counterparts across the country?