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    Posted November 6, 2007

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Austin/San Antonio Members Meet on Oct 10

Get Updates on Local Equity Theatres

Front L-R: Scottie Wilkinson, Jerili Romeo, Douglas Taylor, Ellen Glatman, Shelby Davenport
Back L-R: Greg Holt, Barry Miller, Gia Rhodes, Robert Tolaro, Carla Nickerson, Bill McMillin, Matthew Patterson
Photo: Tom Byrne

Seventeen Equity members from the Austin/San Antonio area met at Arts on Real Theatre in Austin for their Fall membership meeting on October 10, 2007. The meeting was chaired by Bill McMillin, Chair of the Liaison Committee and Western Region Stage Manager Councillor, who reported on status of Equity theatres in the area.

Tex-Arts, a musical company would be holding auditions in November for DAMN YANKEES. This is exciting news as it will be the first full contract for this new company. They have had several benefit productions approved by Theatre Authority West and are now preparing for a full scale production under contract. The contract is still pending approval by Equity.

Zachary Scott Theatre Center, an SPT-Category 4 theatre, has been idle for a few months due to renovations and will return to full scale productions in both theatres.

Austin Playhouse (SPT-1) is currently running INHERIT THE WIND to full houses. Reviews have been excellent. The ensemble is led by Austin Playhouse Acting Company members David Stahl as Drummond (modeled on Clarence Darrow) and Michael Stuart as Brady (modeled on William Jennings Bryan). The cast also features Austin Playhouse Acting Company members Margaret Hoard, Janet Hurley Kimlicko, Molly Karrasch, Barry Miller, Tom Parker, David Stokey, and Zach Thompson, as well as Jon Boatwright, David Christopher, Maria Collins, Ryan Crowder, Rachel Dendy, Kate Gibson, Helen Heston, Christopher Loveless, Ian Manners, Sean Neely, Rommel Sulit, and Chris Sykes. INHERIT THE WIND is directed by Don Toner (2006 Lucy Jordan Award winner).

Austin Shakespeare Festival (SPT-1), under the new leadership of Ann Ciccolella, has just finished a major fundraising event at The Curtain Theatre and is looking towards their new season.

The MPC (Members' Project Code) production of THE SEAGULL, is playing and all seems to be going very well with strong box-office and rave reviews. Members Babs George, Dirk Van Allen (2005 Lucy Jordan Award winner) and Paul Wright are the members involved.

TUNA DOES VEGAS, (Production contract): the new installment by Joe Sears and Jason Williams, Tuna originals, is playing to full houses as The Paramount Theatre.

St. Edward's University's Mary Moody Northern Theatre, an URTA Tier 1 contract, is just now going into their tech week for RING 'ROUND THE MOON. Several performances are already sold out. Members MJ Vandivier, Ev Lunning, Jr. and Joel Kabik star.

MENOPAUSE, THE MUSICAL closed in San Antonio on October 21 after an exceptionally well-received run of over ten months. Robert Tolaro stage managed and Carla Nickerson starred.

There is no news on the status of The State Theatre, which was devastated by a flood approximately two years ago. The State was an SPT, Category 7 theatre and is no longer operating as a producing theatre.

The theatre community, as well as all arts lovers, is excited about the future March opening of the new $83 million Long Center. The Long Center is targeted to be the home of many theatre companies, as well as the Austin Symphony, Austin Lyric Opera and Ballet Austin. The Long Center will have two theatres, with the hope of two more to be added later.

Bill McMillin also discussed his trip to Los Angeles for the expanded Western Region Board meeting. Many areas of membership concern were targeted in that meeting and Mr. McMillin gave an overview of those subjects, as well as the hope of a strategic plan for the future.

Membership discussion followed concerning national topics such as health care, the Local 1/Broadway situation, as well as issues concerning sister unions, SAG and AFTRA.

The new audition "how you may hire me" sheet was passed out to all members for any possible auditions at current non-Equity theatres. Austin and San Antonio have over 70 small companies operating, with several using the Umbrella, Special Appearance and Guest Artist contracts.

The next membership meeting is tentatively scheduled for Monday, January 28 at a time and location TBA. This will be the yearly membership meeting to select new members of the Liaison Committee. Hopes are that Susan Wallace, Western Region Director, and Timothy Smith, Western Region Business Representative, will be in attendance.

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