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Actors' Equity 2000 - 2003      “The life of the city goes on”
 
Countdown Entertainment, LLC

2000

January 1

OK, so it's not really the beginning of the new millennium (that will officially come in 2001). Tell that to the nearly two million people who come to Times Square to ring in the New Year.

March 23

After the success of The Lion King, Elton John and Tim Rice are back on Broadway with their pop look at the story of Aida.

April

With the growing trend of musical-type performances in resorts and casinos, Equity representatives go on a fact-finding trip to Las Vegas to determine whether the time is right to begin organizing efforts. In June, the Casino Committee will be formed to recommend details for a contract tailored to the needs of performers and producers in that type of venue.

September 10

Cats closes after almost 18 years on Broadway.

Equity supports the AFTRA/SAG strike against producers of radio and TV commercials. Members are warned not to "cross the line" and accept work in commercials while the strike continues.

October

A new four-year agreement between Equity and the League is finalized, which includes a salary increase and the establishment of a 401(k) plan with a 3% employer contribution effective June 2001.

October 24

In an era when plays struggle to survive a few months, David Auburn's Proof will run for 917 performances after opening tonight. It will win the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize.

November

Equity takes a strong stand against non-union tours, mounting public relations campaigns in several cities.

November 7 - December 13

The 2000 election between Al Gore and George W. Bush is the longest in over 100 years as the too-close-to-call vote count in Florida becomes a storm of recrimination and anxiety. Bush finally declares victory, and Gore concedes on December 13th after the U.S. Supreme Court rules against further recounts.

Chicago's Goodman Theatre inaugurates its new home, a state-of-the-art, two-theatre complex in the heart of Chicago's North Loop Theatre district. Recipient of the 1992 Special Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, The Goodman is Chicago's oldest and largest resident theatre.

2001

February

Equity continues to protest the non-Equity tour of The Sound of Music, calling for a national boycott. In October, Equity will mount an organizing campaign of the non-Equity Music Man tour.

March 21


Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in THE PRODUCERS

This year belongs to The Producers, a musical based on Mel Brooks’ famous film, adapted for the stage by Brooks himself, directed by Susan Stroman. Wonderful critical response will follow tonight's opening, followed by packed houses and 12 Tony Awards.

April

Equity signs its first major contract created specifically for Las Vegas. The contract is for the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino production of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.




September 11

At 8:45 AM (EDT), a hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center. 23 minutes later, a second jet crashes into the south tower.

9:40 AM–For the first time in American history, the FAA shuts down all flights at U.S. airports. Three minutes later, American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon.

10:05 AM–South tower of the World Trade Center collapses.

10:10 AM–United Airlines Flight 93 crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

10:28 AM–The World Trade Center's north tower collapses.

Later in the day, President Bush will say, "Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts."

On Thursday, Secretary of State Colin Powell will name Osama bin Laden as the main suspect behind the attacks.

Broadway goes dark for three days. 13 shows are in danger of closing; Equity, as well as the other theatrical unions, approves temporary salary cuts to keep them running.

Mayor Rudy Guiliani says, "You want to help New York? Then go see a show...go support the theatre...the life of the city goes on."

Equity donates $50,000 to The Actors’ Fund Special September 11th Campaign which was created to provide relief to show people affected by the attack.

In October, after the Taliban government refuses to hand bin Laden over to the United States, America and its allies begin air strikes on military areas and training camps for terrorists in Afghanistan.

October

A month after the September 11th attacks, the National Council convenes a special Plenary session in New York City. More than 80 Councillors, Regional Board Members and staff gather for the three-day session.

November

Equity is a founding member of COBUG, the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds, which seeks to improve public and political awareness of labor's vital and collective role in the "art and craft" of theatre.

2002

 

In his January State of the Union address, President Bush calls North Korea, Iraq and Iran an "axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world."

February

In response to the September 11th attacks, Broadway performers tour the United States promoting New York City and Broadway theatre in the show New York Loves America: The Broadway Tour. As Equity President Patrick Quinn wrote shortly after the attacks, "If, through our talents, we can help the nation laugh with, cry over, rejoice in, or reflect upon, we will truly be acting for the common good."

April 7

Suzan-Lori Parks' raw and uncompromising Topdog/Underdog will win the Pulitzer Prize this year.

June

A dues increase is approved, the first in over 12 years.

July

The Equity office in Chicago moves to 125 South Clark Street.

August

Actors in a production on Ellis Island vote for Equity representation.

September 12

September 12

President Bush addresses the United Nations, asking the body of nations to hold Iraq accountable for years of defying the will of the world: "Iraq has answered a decade of U.N. demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test, and the U.N., a difficult and defining moment..." He asks the Security Council for a new resolution to disarm Saddam Hussein's regime.

In November, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passes Resolution 1441, calling for unfettered access for U.N. inspectors and Hussein's immediate disarmament. Soon, inspectors are back in Iraq for the first time since 1998.

Nashville, Tennessee becomes Equity's 24th Liaison city.




2003

February

The League and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 begin to meet concerning the musicians' contract, due to expire on March 2nd. The major issue: minimum orchestra size requirements. Minimums, created in the era of house orchestras, have been a bone of contention between the League and Local 802 for years.

March 7

Despite extending the contract five days, negotiations on minimums remain deadlocked and the Musicians' Union calls for a strike against 18 Broadway shows at 12:01 AM. The League expects to continue performances using recorded "virtual orchestras" to provide musical accompaniment, but after hearing presentations from both Local 802 and the League, Equity votes to support the strike and refuses, along with the stage hands, to cross the Musicians' picket lines,

"Our members have made it clear that they do not wish to perform to virtual orchestras," says Equity President Patrick Quinn. "Our members also believe that live music is essential on Broadway and that minimums are appropriate and necessary." Equity members join musicians on the picket lines as all the musicals on Broadway (except Cabaret which is on a different contract) are closed for the weekend. Just as in past strikes, this action takes on a theatrical air: on March 8th, actors and industry workers stage a mock funeral through Times Square, carrying a coffin with the message "Don't let producers kill Broadway" as musicians play W.C. Handy's "Broadway Funeral Dirge."



On March 10, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls the leadership of both the League and the Musicians' Union back to the table. Negotiations begin again, this time at Gracie Mansion under the eye of mediator Frank Macchiarola, St. Francis College President. Finally, early in the morning on March 11 (Macchiarola would not let the two sides eat breakfast until an arrangement was arrived at), a settlement is reached: minimums at the large Broadway houses will now be set at 18 or 19 players for the next 10 years, down from the previous 24 to 26. As Bloomberg told The New York Times,"I did try to explain to them how important this industry is to New York City. I tried to explain that you can't always get everything you want, but if you work together, there is some way to find a common ground."

March 19

"Operation Iraqi Freedom" begins with an air attack on a command-and-control bunker in Baghdad, meant to "decapitate" the Iraqi leadership structure by killing Saddam Hussein and his generals. The first weeks of the war bring both heavier than expected resistance and mobs of Iraqi citizens wildly happy to see American troops. On April 9th, U.S. Marines help Iraqi citizens pull down a statue of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad's Firdos Square; Hussein's regime is no longer in power. The future of Iraq seems at once brighter and uncertain.

April 7

Actors' Equity becomes the first actors’ entertainment union to offer online voting when the 2003 election ballots are sent to eligible members.

April 13

Both the AFTRA and SAG National Boards of Directors, in separate meetings, vote overwhelmingly to approve and recommend a plan to consolidate the two unions into a new organization with three affiliates. Proposed name for the new union is the Alliance of International Media Artists (AIMA).

May 26

The Actors' Equity Association celebrates its 90th anniversary. See you at the 100th!

90 More Years...

 

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