Tuesday, March 24, 2015

An Open Letter to Los Angleles Actors VOTE NO ON THE AEA REFERENDUM!

This letter appears in tomorrow's LA Times addressed to members of the AEA with the hope that in the coming referendum that members will Vote NO and encourage the union to sit down with local actors and producers (who are often the same people) and work out an Equitable and Reasonable solution to keeping intimate theatre alive and creating exciting theatre in Los Angeles.  This forum, onstagelosangeles,  is dedicated to reviewing local 99 Seat Theatre productions, thus this reprint of the March 25th letter and the list of names of local artists who paid for this full page ad.  Los Angeles Actors! UNITE!!  Tell your union that the current 99 Seat Plan is vital! And,  reasonable change must be considered.   

Michael Sheehan /  onstagelosangeles supports Pro99 

Actors’ Equity Association members opposing union’s plan to eliminate 99-Seat Theater Plan in L.A. take out full-page ad in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES (March 24, 2015) — Impassioned members of Actors’ Equity Association in Los Angeles have raised funds from within their own ranks to follow up yesterday’s North Hollywood rally with a full-page ad in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times to urge a “No” vote on the upcoming AEA advisory referendum to eliminate L.A.’s 99-Seat Theater Plan.

The “Open Letter to the Los Angeles Theater Community” has been signed by over 600 AEA members and theater artists, including Brooke Adams, Patrick J. Adams, Jason Alexander, Ed Asner, Barbara Bain, Alec Baldwin, Orson Bean, Alan Blumenfeld, Dennis Christopher, Blythe Danner, Patrick Duffy, Daisy Eagan, Frances Fisher, Harry Groener, Arye Gross, Annabelle Gurwich, Philip Baker Hall, Valerie Harper, Ed Harris, Gregory Harrison, Roxanne Hart, Simon Helberg, Gregg Henry, Gregory Itzin, Jeffrey Jones, Jane Kaczmarek, Sally Kirkland, Martin Landau, Jack Laufer, Dan Lauria, Sharon Lawrence, Amy Madigan, Alan Mandell, Joe Mantegna, Dakin Matthews, Dylan McDermott, Laurie Metcalf, Allan Miller, Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Megan Mullally, Jeffrey Nordling, Jenny O’Hara, Nick Offerman, Tim Omundson, Al Pacino, Robert Patrick, Lisa Pelikan, Austin Pendleton, Christina Pickles, Amy Pietz, Philip Proctor, Linda Purl, Jeff Perry, Annie Potts, Molly Quinn, John C. Reilly, Jason Ritter, John Rubinstein, Eva Marie Saint, Raphael Sbarge, David Selby, Tony Shalhoub, Jeremy Sisto, Kurtwood Smith, Joe Spano, French Stewart, Susan Sullivan, Stephen Tobolowsky, Kirsten Vangsness, Steven Weber and Vanessa Williams – to name a few.

The text of the ad is as follows:

“An Open Letter to the Los Angeles Theater Community:

dear theater professionals and theater lovers:
The survival of our extraordinary and unique intimate theater scene is in danger. Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States, has issued a proposal that will radically alter / even eliminate its agreement with small theaters (venues of 99 seats or less). We, the undersigned AEA actors and theater artists, believe AEA’s proposal is unsustainable both artistically and financially. It will potentially cause the demise of some of L.A.’s most acclaimed theater companies, while severely curtailing opportunities for AEA actors to do the kind of work that is seldom, if ever, available to us in the commercial market.

why it matters:
L.A.’s diverse network of over 250 intimate theaters is matchless. From here, our great city incubates world-class theater. Actors launch important careers and plays move to larger venues. It’s where ensemble companies proliferate, where classics with large casts are regularly mounted, where risky new plays get their start. We create jobs, boost local revenue and generate scores of educational outreach programs to light the flame of appreciation in the hearts and minds of the next generation. And we do it all for an average ticket price of about $25.

we want change. just not this change.
We want to amend the current 99-Seat Plan rather than eliminate it. We have asked our union for a proposal that would base actor compensation on a theater’s budget, production revenue or other common-sense metrics. The union replied with a one-size-fits-all plan that we believe is so punitive as to likely devastate the vast majority of L.A.’s under-resourced small theaters. Many would have to double or even triple their budgets, forcing them either to stop casting union members or to fold entirely. We want to keep in place the valuable safeguards built into the current plan that protect actors. We want to increase actor compensation by establishing a system that promotes sustainable growth, without annihilating everything we’ve worked so long and hard to build.

we urge AEA members to vote NO!

Tony award winning actress Blythe Danner says:
'99 seat theaters provided the lifeblood for many of us when we began in this business and are still not only relevant but crucial to the artistic life of our city and country. And besides the opportunity to stretch and grow as actors, seeds are often sown in these theaters for plays that go on to become important commercial works of art. In a city where there are so many talented actors who when not doing tv or film hone their skills and find artistic refuge in such theaters … it would be tragic to lose them.'

To learn the facts, and see how you can help, go to:

The rally on Monday afternoon, which included a one-mile march up Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts District to the offices of Actors’ Equity Association, drew over 300 participants.

For more information, visit

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