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SAG’s Rosenberg takes a break

Actor directing LaBute play in Cleveland

After one of the most contentious periods in SAG history, guild president Alan Rosenberg has been taking a break.

Instead of wrangling union issues he’s spent the past few weeks directing a play — in Cleveland.

“After all that happened in Los Angeles, Cleveland in February seemed like Hawaii,” says the actor.

He’s directing Neil LaBute’s “Autobahn” at the Cleveland Playhouse in a production starring students of Case Western U. He’s a 1972 graduate and had been planning to take the directing gig for several months.

“This is what you call good nostalgia in that I’m seeing old friends and working with students at the start of their careers,” he says. “It’s very satisfying to see your ideas get put into action — unlike what sometimes happens at SAG.”

“Autobahn,” which consists of characters talking in cars, opened March 18 and will run through March 28. Rosenberg, known mostly for playing lawyers on TV dramas, previously directed the indie pic “A Prayer for My Daughter” in the early 1990s.

Rosenberg admits he’s still disappointed about SAG’s contract stalemate and the ouster of national exec director Doug Allen . And with SAG elections looming in September, he hasn’t decided yet whether or not he’ll seek a third two-year term.

“If the national board had shown some unity, we would have had a much better deal by now,” Rosenberg says.

Moderates on the national board gained control of the panel last fall and opted to fire Allen, replacing him with David White as interim national exec director. As part of that move in late January, the board stripped Rosenberg of his right to speak on behalf of SAG.

“SAG is an organization that should be run by the members, not by the staff,” Rosenberg says.

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