Members congratulate Shindle on election victory and respond to inaugural column in Equity News

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 27, 2015) — Members of the “Pro99” movement of Actors’ Equity Association have issued an open letter to AEA’s newly elected president, Kate Shindle, in response to her victory and to her inaugural address as president of the national union for actors and stage managers. The open letter is signed by over 400 Equity members (listed below), including such notable names as Ed Asner, Francis Fisher, Sally Kirkland and Alfred Molina.

The “Pro99” movement formed in late 2014 in opposition to AEA’s rollout of a new plan that will effectively force “intimate theaters” in Los Angeles to pay Equity actors minimum wage, go “non-union” or even close – despite an overwhelming vote against the plan by 66% of the Los Angeles membership on an advisory referendum. “Pro99” members around the nation, who take their name from the current AEA “99 Seat Plan” that allows members to volunteer in smaller venues, oppose AEA’s new promulgated plan.

They are requesting that Equity leadership put a moratorium on the plan until local members’ voices can be heard, and that the union work with its members to develop an alternative plan that will more realistically address the needs of the Los Angeles theater community.

An Open Letter to Actors’ Equity President Kate Shindle from #Pro99 AEA Members

Dear President Shindle,

We, the undersigned members of AEA who support the Pro99 movement, both in the L.A. area and around the nation, congratulate you on your win, and wish you a successful term as President of our beloved union. We were satisfied that our passionate campaigning helped to elect you, and appreciated that during your campaign you came to Los Angeles to meet with us and express your interest in the 99- Seat debacle that has galvanized our Los Angeles Theatre Community.

In your “Inaugural Column” in the July/August 2015 edition of Equity News you wrote: “Everyone has a different definition of what’s cool; to me, the coolest thing Equity can do is to encourage its members to be passionate, vocal activists and ambassadors. Because that will not only make our industry more successful, it will also make our union stronger.”

We couldn’t agree more. We are also encouraged and grateful that you mention our cause in your column, especially since we do not feel we have always been fairly represented in Equity News and emails — that is, when we’ve been represented at all. Thank you for your willingness to both meet with us and publicly discuss what absolutely continues to be a crisis in our union. As you noted, we do have much to celebrate about intimate theatre in L.A. — almost thirty years of rich and creative work under the guidelines endorsed by our own union.

However, we’re concerned about your mention of a recent Fringe Festival production that was produced under the proposed “New 99-Seat Theatre Agreement.” Though you present it as something to perhaps celebrate, we wish to be clear that that Agreement is precisely what an overwhelming majority of local AEA members voted against in the advisory referendum (66%: a landslide). As you can imagine, LA members don’t consider this an event to celebrate. We think it is, in fact, the problem, and not the solution. Worse, we think the way the new agreement was promulgated by the union is even more problematic for the democratic process. We have found the actions and messaging of the leadership of our union troubling, and the fact that the leadership ignored the will of its own membership is deeply disturbing. Worst of all, we firmly believe this new plan will effectively destroy our vibrant theatrical community.

We love our union. We have, from the beginning, offered to work with Council and staff to find a solution that will not only address our concerns, but also make our union stronger and respectful of local members’ needs. We welcome turning a new page with your support and willingness to listen to us articulate the realities of our community in order to resolve this crisis.

In solidarity,

Members of AEA
#PRO99 movement

About “Intimate Theatre” and #Pro99

Over the past 50 years, whether it be 99-Seats in L.A., Off-Off Broadway in New York, or companies starting out like Steppenwolf in Chicago, some of the most important productions in American theatre history have originated in “intimate theaters.” Right now, a 99-seat production from Los Angeles of “Spring Awakening” is opening on Broadway, with twenty members of the original LA cast all earning multiple contract weeks and, proudly, earning their Equity cards. This is only one of countless examples — hundreds of shows, thousands of contracts for hundreds of thousands of work weeks — over several decades that have come directly from intimate theatre productions, creating opportunities and work for actors, stage managers, playwrights, directors and designers. This is not just a Los Angeles issue; members across the country share similar issues that create the need for intimate theatre where AEA actors can do their work. To attack the state of 99-Seat theatre is to attack the core of American theatre. We must preserve these venues, not destroy them.

Link to online version of “Open Letter to Actors’ Equity President Kate Shindle from #Pro99”
http://ilove99.org/2015/08/13/open-letter-to-aea-president-kate-shindle-from-pro99-aea-members/

Link to Kate Shindle “Inaugural Column” in Equity News
http://actorsequity.org/AboutEquity/presidentscolumn1.asp

SIGNED, by the following members of Actors’ Equity Association (partial list):

Antoinette Abbamonte
Rhonda Aldrich
Jason Alexander
John Allee
Erinn Anova
John Apicella
Devon Armstrong
Hugo Armstrong
Frank Ashmore
Ed Asner
Whitney Avalon
Shannon Lee Avnsoe
Richard Azurdia
Tim Bagley
Dennis Baker
Libby Baker
Jordan Baker-Kilner
Melisa Bales
Melisaa Weber Bales
Tisha Terrasini Banker
Karen Bankhead
Jon Collin Barclay
Dana Lyn Baron
Cynthia Beckert
Michael James Bell
Rona Benson
Tom Beyer
Allison Bibicoff
Melina Bielefelt
John Billingsley
Royana Black
Alison Blanchard
Troy Blendell
Daniel Blinkoff
Meaghan Boeing
Curt Bonnem
Lisa Boyd
Loretta Bradley
Alysha Brady
Mark Bramhall
Brendan Brandt
Libby Brien
Bill Brochtrup
Ann Bronston
Haynes Brooke
Sarah Brooke
Rob Brownstein
Ezra Buzzington
Kacey Camp
Caitlin Renìce Campbell
Colin Campbell
Mike Campbell
Lauren Campedelli
Amanda Carlin
Cathy Carlton
Ginna Carter
Rob Roy Cesar
Jennifer Chambers
Blaire Chandler
Emily Chase
Bryan Chesters
Joan Chodorow
Jerry Clarke
Roslyn Cohn
Laura Coker
John Combs
Vince Corazza
Mimi Cozzens
James Patrick Cronin
Nathalie Cunningham
Christopher Curry
Maia Danzinger
Peter Davies
Julia Davis
Susan Carol Davis
Timothy Davis-Reed
Albert Dayan
Lee De Broux
Liza De Weerd
Kathy Bell Denton
David Desantos
Etta Devine
Susan Dexter
Vince Donvito
Nike Doukas
John Downey III
Lisa Dring
Padraic Duffy
Robert Duncan
Emily Eiden
Larry Eisenberg
Rob Elk
Tony Embeck-Motzenbacker
Mel England
Nicole Erb
Stephanie A. Erb
Daniel Espeseth
James Esposito
Terry Evans
Thomas Evans
Jennie Fahn
Richard Fancy
Shannon Farnon
Alex Fernandez
James Ferrero
Peter Finlayson
Brian Finney
Tom Fiscella
Susan Fisher
Frances Fisher
Tom Fitzpatrick
Karianne Flaathen
Bridget Flanery
Brighid Fleming
Julia Fletcher
Suzanne Ford
Marilyn Fox
Bo Foxworth
Bruce French
Penny Fuller
Michael Gabiano
Douglas Gabrielle
Richard Gallegos
Jeff Thomas Gardner
Kimiko Gelman
Taylor Gilbert
Lisa Glass
Alexandra Goodman
Wendy Gough
Kathryn Graf
Laurel Green
Brad Greenquist
S.A. Griffin
Chet Grissom
Ayre Gross
Vincent Guastaferro
Nicholas Guest
Christopher Guilmet
Arjun Gupta
Jennifer Gwillim
Katherine Haan
Jeanie Hackett
Molly Hagan
Herb Hall
Tim Halligan
Kurt Andrew Hansen
Amy K Harmon
Dj Harner
Jim Haynie
Brian Helm
Gregg Henry
Ted Heyck
Victoria Hoffman
Jerry Hoffman
Steve Hofvendahl
Henry Holden
Travis Holder
Michelle Holmes
Stuart Howard
Charles Howerton
Jason Huber
William Dennis Hunt
Alberto Isaac
Debbie Jaffe
Mary Ellen Jennings
Wendy Johnson
Jeffrey Jones
Kennedy Kabaseres
Elizabeth Karr
Drew Katzman
Thorsten Kaye
Crystal Keith
Jason E. Kelley
Mckerrin Kelly
Dylan Kenin
Linda Kerns
Jimmy Kieffer
Sally Kirkland
Matt Kirkwood
Mary Jo Kirwan
Eliza Kiss
Melissa Kite
Corey Klemow
Tamara Krinsky
Jonothon Lamer
Michael Lanahan
Edgar Landa
Jack Laufer
Gregg Lawrence
Bobby Lesser
Kelly Lester
Brian Letscher
Ed Levey
Amir Levi
Peter Dan Levin
Laura Levy
Sarah Lilly
Nancy Linehan
Sylvia Little
Ian Littleworth
Ana Therese Lopez
Jeremy Lucas
Jordan Lund
Aaron Lyons
Dennis Madden
Jill Magilone
Mike Mahaffey
Christopher Maikish
Alan Mandell
Sandy Mansson
Michael Manuel
Abigail Marks
Ferrell Marshall
Ron Masak
Edgar Mastin
Dakin Mathews
Anna Mathias
Jeremy Maxwell
Margaret Mccarley
Kevin Mccorkle
Michael Mcgee
David Lm Mcintyre
Matt Mckenzie
David Mcknight
Don Mcmanus
Nan Mcnamara
Vince Melocchi
Bill Mendieta
Kevin Meoak
Rebecca Metz
Toby Meuli
Adam Meyer
Cameron Meyer
Colin Mitchell
Alfred Molina
Robert Homer Mollohan
Mindy Montavon
Sean Moran
Andrea Morgan
Virginia Morris
Allie Mulholland
Jon Mullich
Rob Nagle
Geoffgrey Nauffts
Judy Nazemetz
Shannon Nelson
Claudette Nevins
Sara Newman
Gregory Niebel
Bruce Nozick
Lynn Odell
Nick Offerman
Adenrele Ojo
Laurie Okin
Penny Orloff
Ann Osmond
Jason Paige
Marina Palmier
Ray Paolantonio
Ramon V. Parra
Tony Pasqualini
Lisa Pelikan
Jessica Pennington
Zoe Perry
Lisa Pescia
Alina Phelan
Jonathan Kells Philips
Marissa Pitts
Vic Polizos
John Pollono
Rose Portillo
Mary Portsner
Annie Potts
Lawrence Pressman
Michael Prichard
Roses Prichard
Sean Pritchett
Philip Proctor
Zachary Quinto
Anna Quirino
Linda Rand
Rebecca Rasmussen
Noreen Reardon
Tom Regan
Annette Reid
Elizabeth Reilly
Shanti Reinhardt
Betsy Reisz
Marci Richmond
Roger Rignack
Rene Rivera
Crystal Robbins
Brian Rohan
Tracey Rooney
Stan Roth
Michael Rothhaar
Adriana Roze
Susan Rubin
Paul Rurbiak
Ann Ryerson
Jeanne Sakata
Barry Saltzman
William Salyers
Elizabeth Sampson
Julia Sanford
Norman Scott
Diane Sellers
Mimi Seton
Tro Shaw
Sharron Shayne
Stephanie Shayne
David Shine
Graham Sibley
Jacob Sidney
Ruth Silveira
Adam Silver
Anibal Silveyra
John Sloan
Tucker Smallwood
Sammi Smith
Jacques C. Smith
Debra Snyder
Suzan Solomon
Wendy Soroka
Devon Sorvari
Richard Soto
Joe Spano
Adrian Sparks
Valerie Spencer
Steve Spiro
Patrick Stafford
Sami Staitman
Rick Steadman
David Steen
Jeannine Stehlin
Ellyn Stern
Theo Stevens
Elizabeth Swain
Kim Swennen
Joel Swetow
Jeanne Syquia
John Szura
Bart Tangredi
Barbara Tarbuck
Nick Tate
Jennifer Taub
Mark Taylor
Martin Thompson
Donal Thoms-Cappello
Paul Tigue
Debi Tinsley
Amy Tolsky
Cathy Diane Tomin
Marcelo Tubert
Nick Ullett
Carole Ursetti
Brenda Varda
Tania Verafield
Steve Vinovich
Michael Wallot
Kristine Waters
Cameron Watson
Vance Wells
Leo Weltman
Patrick Wenk-Wolff
Mandy Levin Williams
Mark Mcclain Wilson
Dan Wingard
Gail Wirth
Steven Wishnoff
Robert Woods
Wendy Worthington
Tim Wright
Kimberly Yates
Travis York
David Youse
Lb Zimmerman

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