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November 2, 2004

Eisenberg Visits
University of Michigan Theatre Programs

Univ. Of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman with Eisenberg

Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg was invited to address students in the university’s popular theatre and musical theatre programs in October. The seminar was coordinated by Kenneth Fischer, the Executive Director of the University Musical Society, a presenting organization celebrating its 126th anniversary season.

"The University Musical Society presents dance, theatre and musical events throughout the year," noted Fischer. "We were delighted to have Alan back to meet with our theatre students following his visit last fall, which drew a very enthusiastic response.”

Brent Wagner, Chair of the University's prestigious undergraduate Musical Theatre Program, served as moderator. “Our session with Alan was extremely valuable,” he said. “Learning about Equity from the Executive Director was a tremendous advantage for the students. Most were Musical Theatre majors, and they were especially interested to learn first-hand about the Production Contract negotiations this summer regarding non-Equity tours. The students had many probing and thoughtful questions. In a university training program, the business elements of forging a career often seem distant and vague. Alan brought these into clear focus with anecdotes, illustrations, legal definitions and facts. For the students to see the dedication and devotion he brings to his leadership of the union was truly inspiring.”

“The students had lots of questions about the Union,” said Eisenberg. “They ranged from how and when to join Equity, what are the advantages of having a union, to an in depth discussion about the new Production Contract and touring. I emphasized that by working in non-Equity tours, the students could be hurting the union they are going to join in the future, and that there are plenty of other opportunities to work non-Equity.”

Following the seminar, Alan toured the University’s magnificent Hill Auditorium with Clayton Wilhite and Louis Guenin, which houses student productions as well as visiting theatrical, dance and concert events.

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