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April 3, 2004

Milwaukee MASH Leaflets MISS SAIGON

A cold blustery night in Milwaukee did nothing to deter 20 Equity members, Local 18 Stagehands and Local 8 Musicians from leafleting the opening night performance of the non-Equity tour of MISS SAIGON at the Milwaukee Theater.

On Tuesday, March 16, 2004, members of MASH (a group of Milwaukee area Musicians, Actors and Stagehands) distributed leaflets to theatergoers informing them that the production of MISS SAIGON they were about to see employed a non-union cast and orchestra. (The show also travels with a partial virtual orchestra.) As patrons quickly made their way to the theater, they each took a leaflet to read. Many were surprised to discover that the show was not a full union production as it was billed as part of a “Broadway Series”.

Central Regional Board member Dan Mooney, who heads the Milwaukee AEA Liaison Committee, thanked AFM Local 8 President David Lussier and IA Local 18 President Paul Friday. “Milwaukee is a strong theater and union town and the members of MASH were out in full support of Actors’ Equity and our efforts to reclaim the road,” he said. “If presenters in major cities like Milwaukee are going to book-in non-Equity tours as part of their “Broadway Series”, we feel it’s important that theatergoers know what they are paying to see.” Equity Internal Organizer John V. Fahey was also on hand to support the Milwaukee group, which included Stage Managers Brad Bingheim, and Lisa Sottile, and actor Norman Moses.

Despite the cold weather and snow, leafleting continued throughout the one-week run of MISS SAIGON. This member-driven action was just a part of the ongoing campaign Equity has mounted to reclaim work lost to non-Equity tours over the past decade.

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