‘Pro99’ Actors’ Equity members send open letter to AEA President Kate Shindle

Members congratulate Shindle on election victory and respond to inaugural column in Equity News

Members of the “Pro99” movement of Actors’ Equity Association have issued an open letter to AEA’s newly elected president, Kate Shindle, in response to her victory and to her inaugural address as president of the national union for actors and stage managers. The open letter is signed by over 400 Equity members (listed below), including such notable names as Ed Asner, Francis Fisher, Sally Kirkland and Alfred Molina. The “Pro99” movement formed in late 2014 in opposition to AEA’s rollout of a new plan that will effectively force “intimate theaters” in Los Angeles to pay Equity actors minimum wage, go “non-union” or even close – despite an overwhelming vote against the plan by 66% of the Los Angeles membership on an advisory referendum. “Pro99” members around the nation, who take their name from the current AEA “99 Seat Plan” that allows members to volunteer in smaller venues, oppose AEA’s new promulgated plan. They are requesting that Equity leadership put a moratorium on the plan until local members’ voices can be heard, and that the union work with its members to develop an alternative plan that will more realistically address the needs of the Los Angeles theater community.

For more information, to sign the letter, to get involved, go to ilove99.org


An Open Letter to Actors’ Equity President Kate Shindle from #Pro99 AEA Members

Dear President Shindle,

We, the undersigned members of AEA who support the Pro99 movement, both in the L.A. area and around the nation, congratulate you on your win, and wish you a successful term as President of our beloved union. We were satisfied that our passionate campaigning helped to elect you, and appreciated that during your campaign you came to Los Angeles to meet with us and express your interest in the 99- Seat debacle that has galvanized our Los Angeles Theatre Community.

In your “Inaugural Column” in the July/August 2015 edition of Equity News you wrote: “Everyone has a different definition of what’s cool; to me, the coolest thing Equity can do is to encourage its members to be passionate, vocal activists and ambassadors. Because that will not only make our industry more successful, it will also make our union stronger.”

We couldn’t agree more. We are also encouraged and grateful that you mention our cause in your column, especially since we do not feel we have always been fairly represented in Equity News and emails — that is, when we’ve been represented at all. Thank you for your willingness to both meet with us and publicly discuss what absolutely continues to be a crisis in our union. As you noted, we do have much to celebrate about intimate theatre in L.A. — almost thirty years of rich and creative work under the guidelines endorsed by our own union.

However, we’re concerned about your mention of a recent Fringe Festival production that was produced under the proposed “New 99-Seat Theatre Agreement.” Though you present it as something to perhaps celebrate, we wish to be clear that that Agreement is precisely what an overwhelming majority of local AEA members voted against in the advisory referendum (66%: a landslide). As you can imagine, LA members don’t consider this an event to celebrate. We think it is, in fact, the problem, and not the solution. Worse, we think the way the new agreement was promulgated by the union is even more problematic for the democratic process. We have found the actions and messaging of the leadership of our union troubling, and the fact that the leadership ignored the will of its own membership is deeply disturbing. Worst of all, we firmly believe this new plan will effectively destroy our vibrant theatrical community.

We love our union. We have, from the beginning, offered to work with Council and staff to find a solution that will not only address our concerns, but also make our union stronger and respectful of local members’ needs. We welcome turning a new page with your support and willingness to listen to us articulate the realities of our community in order to resolve this crisis. In solidarity,
Members of AEA
#PRO99 movement
About “Intimate Theatre” and #Pro99
Over the past 50 years, whether it be 99-Seats in L.A., Off-Off Broadway in New York, or companies starting out like Steppenwolf in Chicago, some of the most important productions in American theatre history have originated in “intimate theaters.” Right now, a 99-seat production from Los Angeles of “Spring Awakening” is opening on Broadway, with twenty members of the original LA cast all earning multiple contract weeks and, proudly, earning their Equity cards. This is only one of countless examples — hundreds of shows, thousands of contracts for hundreds of thousands of work weeks — over several decades that have come directly from intimate theatre productions, creating opportunities and work for actors, stage managers, playwrights, directors and designers. This is not just a Los Angeles issue; members across the country share similar issues that create the need for intimate theatre where AEA actors can do their work. To attack the state of 99-Seat theatre is to attack the core of American theatre. We must preserve these venues, not destroy them.

SIGNED, by the following members of Actors’ Equity Association (partial list):

Antoinette Abbamonte Rhonda Aldrich Jason Alexander John Allee Erinn Anova John Apicella Devon Armstrong Hugo Armstrong Frank Ashmore Ed Asner Whitney Avalon Shannon Lee Avnsoe Richard Azurdia Tim Bagley Dennis Baker Libby Baker Jordan Baker-Kilner Melisa Bales Melisaa Weber Bales Tisha Terrasini Banker Karen Bankhead Jon Collin Barclay Dana Lyn Baron Cynthia Beckert Michael James Bell Rona Benson Tom Beyer Allison Bibicoff Melina Bielefelt John Billingsley Royana Black Alison Blanchard Troy Blendell Daniel Blinkoff Meaghan Boeing Curt Bonnem Lisa Boyd Loretta Bradley Alysha Brady Mark Bramhall Brendan Brandt Libby Brien Bill Brochtrup Ann Bronston Haynes Brooke Sarah Brooke Rob Brownstein Ezra Buzzington Kacey Camp Caitlin Renìce Campbell Colin Campbell Mike Campbell Lauren Campedelli Amanda Carlin Cathy Carlton Ginna Carter Rob Roy Cesar Jennifer Chambers Blaire Chandler Emily Chase Bryan Chesters Joan Chodorow Jerry Clarke Roslyn Cohn Laura Coker John Combs Vince Corazza Mimi Cozzens James Patrick Cronin Nathalie Cunningham Christopher Curry Maia Danzinger Peter Davies Julia Davis Susan Carol Davis Timothy Davis-Reed Albert Dayan Lee De Broux Liza De Weerd Kathy Bell Denton David Desantos Etta Devine Susan Dexter Vince Donvito Nike Doukas John Downey III Lisa Dring Padraic Duffy Robert Duncan Emily Eiden Larry Eisenberg Rob Elk Tony Embeck-Motzenbacker Mel England Nicole Erb Stephanie A. Erb Daniel Espeseth  Terry Evans Thomas Evans Jennie Fahn Richard Fancy Shannon Farnon Alex Fernandez James Ferrero Peter Finlayson Brian Finney Tom Fiscella Susan Fisher Frances Fisher Tom Fitzpatrick Karianne Flaathen Bridget Flanery Brighid Fleming Julia Fletcher Suzanne Ford Marilyn Fox Bo Foxworth Bruce French Penny Fuller Michael Gabiano Douglas Gabrielle Richard Gallegos Jeff Thomas Gardner Kimiko Gelman Taylor Gilbert Lisa Glass Alexandra Goodman Wendy Gough Kathryn Graf Laurel Green Brad Greenquist S.A. Griffin Chet Grissom Ayre Gross Vincent Guastaferro Nicholas Guest Christopher Guilmet Arjun Gupta Jennifer Gwillim Katherine Haan Jeanie Hackett Molly Hagan Herb Hall Tim Halligan Kurt Andrew Hansen Amy K Harmon Dj Harner Jim Haynie Brian Helm Gregg Henry Ted Heyck Victoria Hoffman Jerry Hoffman Steve Hofvendahl Henry Holden Travis Holder Michelle Holmes Stuart Howard Charles Howerton Jason Huber William Dennis Hunt Alberto Isaac Debbie Jaffe Mary Ellen Jennings Wendy Johnson Jeffrey Jones Kennedy Kabaseres Elizabeth Karr Drew Katzman Thorsten Kaye Crystal Keith Jason E. Kelley Mckerrin Kelly Dylan Kenin Linda Kerns Jimmy Kieffer Sally Kirkland Matt Kirkwood Mary Jo Kirwan Eliza Kiss Melissa Kite Corey Klemow Tamara Krinsky Jonothon Lamer Michael Lanahan Edgar Landa Jack Laufer Gregg Lawrence Bobby Lesser Kelly Lester Brian Letscher Ed Levey Amir Levi Peter Dan Levin Laura Levy Sarah Lilly Nancy Linehan Sylvia Little Ian Littleworth Ana Therese Lopez Jeremy Lucas Jordan Lund Aaron Lyons Dennis Madden Jill Magilone Mike Mahaffey Christopher Maikish Alan Mandell Sandy Mansson Michael Manuel Abigail Marks Ferrell Marshall Ron Masak Edgar Mastin Dakin Mathews Anna Mathias Jeremy Maxwell Margaret Mccarley Kevin Mccorkle Michael Mcgee David Lm Mcintyre Matt Mckenzie David Mcknight Don Mcmanus Nan Mcnamara Vince Melocchi Bill Mendieta Kevin Meoak Rebecca Metz Toby Meuli Adam Meyer Cameron Meyer Colin Mitchell Alfred Molina Robert Homer Mollohan Mindy Montavon Sean Moran Andrea Morgan Virginia Morris Allie Mulholland Jon Mullich Rob Nagle Geoffgrey Nauffts Judy Nazemetz Shannon Nelson Claudette Nevins Sara Newman Gregory Niebel Bruce Nozick Lynn Odell Nick Offerman Adenrele Ojo Laurie Okin Penny Orloff Ann Osmond Jason Paige Marina Palmier Ray Paolantonio Ramon V. Parra Tony Pasqualini Lisa Pelikan Jessica Pennington Zoe Perry Lisa Pescia Alina Phelan Jonathan Kells Philips Marissa Pitts Vic Polizos John Pollono Rose Portillo Mary Portsner Annie Potts Lawrence Pressman Michael Prichard Roses Prichard Sean Pritchett Philip Proctor Zachary Quinto Anna Quirino Linda Rand Rebecca Rasmussen Noreen Reardon Tom Regan Annette Reid Elizabeth Reilly Shanti Reinhardt Betsy Reisz Marci Richmond Roger Rignack Rene Rivera Crystal Robbins Brian Rohan Tracey Rooney Stan Roth Michael Rothhaar Adriana Roze Susan Rubin Paul Rurbiak Ann Ryerson Jeanne Sakata Barry Saltzman William Salyers Elizabeth Sampson Julia Sanford Norman Scott Diane Sellers Mimi Seton Tro Shaw Sharron Shayne Stephanie Shayne David Shine Graham Sibley Jacob Sidney Ruth Silveira Adam Silver Anibal Silveyra John Sloan Tucker Smallwood Sammi Smith Jacques C. Smith Debra Snyder Suzan Solomon Wendy Soroka Devon Sorvari Richard Soto Joe Spano Adrian Sparks Valerie Spencer Steve Spiro Patrick Stafford Sami Staitman Rick Steadman David Steen Jeannine Stehlin Ellyn Stern Theo Stevens Elizabeth Swain Kim Swennen Joel Swetow Jeanne Syquia John Szura Bart Tangredi Barbara Tarbuck Nick Tate Jennifer Taub Mark Taylor Martin Thompson Donal Thoms-Cappello Paul Tigue Debi Tinsley Amy Tolsky Cathy Diane Tomin Marcelo Tubert Nick Ullett Carole Ursetti Brenda Varda Tania Verafield Steve Vinovich Michael Wallot Kristine Waters Cameron Watson Vance Wells Leo Weltman Patrick Wenk-Wolff Mandy Levin Williams Mark Mcclain Wilson Dan Wingard Gail Wirth Steven Wishnoff Robert Woods Wendy Worthington Tim Wright Kimberly Yates Travis York David Youse Lb Zimmerman


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Lisa Bianconi
Author: Lisa Bianconi

Editor of www.nohoartsdistrict.com