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June 28, 2003

Philadelphia area Equity, SAG members Handbill non-Equity GREASE at Academy of Music

Back Row: Johnnie Hobbs, Jr., Tom McNutt, Robert Foley, Bill Goldberg (SAG)
Middle: Dan Hunt (SAG), Peggy Smith, Tom McCarthy, Nancy Boykin, Dan Kern
Front: Marguerite Price, Barry Brait
Not Pictured: Brady Gonsalves and Marcia Hepps

On Tuesday evening, June 17th, local members of Actors' Equity and their colleagues from the Screen Actors Guild participated in an informational hand billing effort on the opening night of GREASE at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. This Phoenix Production tour is a non-Equity show starring Frankie Avalon.

Fourteen members from the two Unions distributed over 1000 flyers to patrons informing them of the non-union of the show and how that affects performers. The audience was a diverse group: young people, seniors, white, African-American, families, city dwellers and suburbanites.

Equity officials said they were extremely disappointed that the Kimmel Center's inaugural season at the historic Academy of Music included three non-Equity shows. "We believe the public has a right to know, and that All actors and stage managers, regardless of their union affiliation, deserve a fair share," said Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg.

Besides GREASE, the non-Equity shows at the Kimmel include STARLIGHT EXPRESS and OLIVER! produced by Troika and Networks respectively. The handbill also pointed out two non-Equity shows at the Merriam, MISS SAIGON and OKLAHOMA!

Theatre goers were encouraged to support other Equity theatres in Philadelphia, including 1812 Productions, Act II, the Arden Theatre Company, Bristol Riverside, Delaware Theatre Company, the Freedom Theatre, InterAct, New Media, Lantern, People's Light and Theatre, the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, Pennsylvania Shakespeare, the Philadelphia Theatre Company, Prince Music Theatre, Society for the Performing Arts Storybook Musical Theatre, the Walnut Street Theatre and the Wilma.

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