East West Players, Nosotros, Native Voices among participants

HOLLYWOOD — The Screen Actors Guild has joined forces with ABC to create a showcase for minority performers.

The ABC Talent Development Casting Program will mix minority SAG members with established pros to perform staged readings in front of casting directors, execs, scribes and producers. This week’s kickoff event involved the East West Players, the nation’s first Asian Pacific American theater company.

Other arts orgs agreeing to partner with ABC include Nosotros, Native Voices, AmeriInd Entertainment, the Groundlings, Media Access and the Robey Theater. Anne-Marie Johnson, chair of SAG’s equal employment opportunity committee, said she expects the program will grow.

A good idea

“It will open so many doors for performers who, for whatever reason, have not been able to participate in this terrific but difficult field,” she added. “I am confident that this project will only get bigger and stronger, and that other networks and studios will see the wonderful benefits and want to join.”

A coalition of minority groups has been pressing the Big Four nets to take steps to boost minority representation in front and behind cameras. NAACP prexy-CEO Kweisi Mfume charged in August that the nets have failed to improve significantly in these areas.

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