SSDC Storm Dies Down, Or Now

Members of the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers aren’t protesting an agreement that allows artistic directors – who are all union members – to forgo union fees on shows they direct in their home theaters (VARIETY, Oct. 14).

About 60 members met Nov. 4 in New York, partly to discuss the issue.

The agreement is a rider to SSDC’s contract with the League of Resident Theaters. It caused a furor at the top of the union hierarchy. Some claimed that the agreement established an elite tier in the union.

Executive vice president Tony Giordano declared that “there is no union anymore.” He had predicted heated debate at the annual meeting and, eventually, a court challenge of the agreement.

But neither Giordano nor director Vivian Matalon – the first to openly challenge the agreement – attended the meeting. Matalon was injured during rehearsals in Chicago, while Giordano had made his position clear by resigning earlier from the board.

SSDC president Gene Saks insisted that everything was done in accordance with union bylaws.

That seemed to satisfy those in attendance and the matter was dropped.

Matalon has told the union he will refuse to sign an SSDC contract should his show move to a union-covered production, a move that could ultimately provoke a court challenge.

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