Thesps stage B’way rally

Jackman, Arnaz, Chalfant show support

Several hundred thesps, stage managers and supporters rallied Wednesday at Duffy Square in the Broadway district of Gotham to protest the proliferation of non-Equity touring shows.

The event drew Hugh Jackman, Lucie Arnaz, Kathleen Chalfant, Kerry Butler, James Naughton, Mary Testa and Christine Ebersole and featured statements of support from SAG, AFTRA, AFM, IATSE and AFL-CIO prexy John Sweeney. Equity’s contract expires next year.

“I don’t want to talk about a strike. That is premature,” said Equity exec director Alan Eisenberg. “It is our goal to reach an agreement through collective bargaining.”

Even though Wednesday’s rally was to protest a non-union “Miss Saigon” production in New Jersey produced by Big League Theatricals, a rally in Broadway’s front yard has to send chills through any Broadway producer’s checkbook. “We want producers to know how strong we feel about this issue,” Eisenberg said.

“The Boy From Oz” star Jackman kicked off the celeb portion of Wednesday’s rally. Not many thesps were in the crowd, despite it being a matinee day.

“A lot of actors who were asked to participate declined,” said Sandy Duncan, who explained the thesps expressed concerns about their employment prospects.

Actors’ Equity estimates the number of non-Equity tours has doubled in the past decade. In the 1996-97 season, the number of “Production Contract” tour workweeks for union thesps was 44,000. That number dropped to 21,000 workweeks in 2002-03.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Legit News from Variety

Loading