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August 31, 2004

Equity Reaches Agreement With Ravinia Festival

With the firm support and backing of actors Michael Cerveris, Patti Lupone and Audra McDonald, Equity has reached its first-ever contract with the famed Ravinia Festival, located in Highland Park, Illinois, north of Chicago. Earlier this summer, Executive Director Alan Eisenberg wrote to the actors and asked that they request a contract from the producer before they begin rehearsals. The actors, who were set to appear in Sunday in the Park With George over Labor Day weekend, capping off Raviniašs Centennial Summer Season, collectively agreed that a contract was necessary.

Over a period of several months, Equity Central Regional Director Kathryn V. Lamkey and Senior Business Representative Christine A. Provost and Ravinia representatives negotiated the agreement for the production of Sunday in the Park Together the two sides crystallized the details of this agreement, which includes minimum salaries of $750 for Actors, $800 for the Assistant Stage Manager and $900 for the Production Stage Manager. In addition, Ravinia will make a health contribution of $143 per Actor per week (plus a Supplemental Workers' Compensation payment) and an 8% pension contribution. And, all Actors will be paid as employees rather than as independent contractors for this three-performance engagement.

"We'd like to acknowledge the Chicago Federation of Musicians, the Actors, the agents and the theatre community for their offer to assist us in our effort to reach an agreement for Sunday in the Park," said Ms. Lamkey. Mr. Eisenberg expressed his appreciation to Ceveris, Lupone and McDonald for their support during the negotiations. He said, "By standing up and making their feelings known, these remarkable actors helped us to achieve a contract with pension and welfare contributions. They demonstrated that the strength of Equity is in its membership."

The Ravinia Festival is the oldest outdoor music festival in North America and draws over 600,000 visitors annually to over 120 concerts and special events during the summer season.

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