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Theater Talk: Michele Ragusa at Lincoln Center, Actors' Equity launches "OPEN ACCESS" (extended web version)

Buffalo's own Michelle Ragusa to be in FLYING OVER SUNSET at Lincoln Center's Beaumont Theater starting in November
LCT
/
lct.org
Buffalo's own Michelle Ragusa to be in FLYING OVER SUNSET at Lincoln Center's Beaumont Theater starting in November

Anthony has his tickets to see Buffalo's own Michelle Ragusa in FLYING OVER SUNSET in the Eero Saarinen designed Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center. It's a few months off, but still a thrill as "Broadway" becomes more and more a reality. Meanwhile, the actors' union, Actors' Equity, in a bid to increase the number of BIPOC (Black, Indiginous, People of Color) members, has changed its eligibility rules. (See below). Also, scroll down for an AUDITION NOTICE for the live, on-stage version of Second Generation's upcoming musical SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD previously only streamed (read Peter's review of that here).

FLYING OVER SUNSET to run at Lincoln Center from November through February
LCT
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https://www.lct.org/shows/flying-over-sunset/
FLYING OVER SUNSET to run at Lincoln Center from November through February

FLYING OVER SUNSET, written and directed by James Lapine, has an unusual premise: "It's 1950's Hollywood. You are in Malibu with Cary Grant, Clare Boothe Luce and Aldous Huxley and they are on an acid trip. Together. All three of these extraordinary people were known to experiment with LSD – it was legal then and used for self-awareness and psychological exploration. Nobody knows if they ever really shared a trip, but they were all in and around LA in the 1950s... Who’s to say it never happened?" With music by Tom Kitt, lyrics by Michael Korie, and choreography by Michelle Dorrance, it is scheduled for November through February.

Actors' Equity has a new OPEN ACCESS initiative to increase participation by actors who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color
Actors' Equity
/
https://www.actorsequity.org/news/Logos/
Actors' Equity has a new OPEN ACCESS initiative to increase participation by actors who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color

Since 1913 Actors' Equity has been, like its sister union, SAG-AFTRA for the motion-picture industry, the primary union representing actors in obtaining better pay, working conditions, health insurance, retirement benefits, and more.
On their website they explain in detail about their OPEN ACCESS initiative as follows:

"IT'S EASIER THAN EVER TO JOIN EQUITY!
And it’s more important than ever for actors and stage managers to stand together in solidarity to make theatre a safer, more equitable industry. Are you ready to become a union member? Begin your application here.

"WHAT IS OPEN ACCESS?
Put simply, Equity membership is now open to any stage manager or actor who has worked professionally on a theatre production in the United States. We’ve also made it easier for former Equity members to rejoin the union.

"WHY IS EQUITY OPENING ACCESS?
For many years, eligibility to join Actors’ Equity Association has been limited to those who are working for an Equity employer – either by direct contract offer or through the Equity Membership Candidate program – or to members of a sibling union.
But Equity theatres, like all entertainment industry employers, are disproportionately run by white people, and their programming and hiring decisions show that they often hold biases in favor of people from similar demographics. In fact, recent hiring studies demonstrate that Equity contracts are disproportionately offered to white people, and the majority of new members join via a contract.

Because our membership rules until now have left access to membership in employers’ hands, they have implicitly created a disproportionately high barrier to access for actors and stage managers of marginalized identities. We have inadvertently contributed to the systemic exclusion of people of color and people of other marginalized identities from the benefits of union membership.

"We are taking steps to change that. Open Access is one major step.

"HOW DOES IT WORK?
If you are an EMC or a former member, or if you have previously worked in an Equity theater, we may already have the information needed to confirm your eligibility to join Equity. Otherwise, if you have worked professionally as a stage manager or actor in the United States, you will need to provide proof of that work and proof of payment for that work (e.g. pay stub, W2, 1099, etc.). Your application and a $600 down payment toward the initiation fee are required by May 1, 2023.

Learn more about Dues & Fees.
"Former members and former applicants to Equity membership can have previous initiation fee payments credited towards the amount owed for joining or rejoining. All members now have three years to pay off their initiation fee.

"Open Access is currently in effect until May 1, 2023. In the meantime, Equity will be developing a permanent gateway to membership that addresses racial inequities in accessing membership in the union."

And Theater Talk has an AUDITION NOTICE for a musical last seen only by streaming. And Peter loved it (read his review here) so this promises to be a good gig. Interested parties should contact Kelly Copps at secondgenerationtheatre@gmail.com. Please use subject line SONGS AUDITION.

The particulars: Second Generation Theatre is seeking an actress to play WOMAN 1 (soprano voice part) in the company's October-November production of "Songs for a New World," at the Shea's Smith Theatre. The production is directed by Amy Jakiel with music direction by Stephen Piotrowski. Auditions will be Monday August 16th at 6:30 p.m. at Mount St. Mary Academy (3756 Delaware Ave, Kenmore NY 14217). All ethnicities strongly encouraged to audition. Please prepare 32-64 bars of a Jason Robert Brown song or a song in the style of "Songs for a New World." All auditioners must be fully vaccinated. Proof of vaccination is required.

Interested parties should contact Kelly Copps at secondgenerationtheatre@gmail.com. Please use subject line SONGS AUDITION.

Listen for Theater Talk, Friday morning at 6:45 and 8:45 during Morning Edition.
Even though "semi-retired," Peter Hall continues to wear many hats. He is the Sunday afternoon host on WBFO’s “sister station,” WNED Classical where he has produced over 1,000 radio interviews with musical artists. If you see him at a theater with a pen in his hand, he’s probably getting ready to co-host “Theater Talk” with Anthony Chase (heard Friday mornings at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on WBFO) or to write a review for www.buffalorising.com. He is also a member of the "Artie Awards" committee (think “Tony Awards for Buffalo theaters”).
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  • Right now there are only two shows in town and they're both by Irishmen! The Irish Classical Theater Company has Brian Friel's FAITH HEALER, with the exquisite cast of Paul Todaro, Vincent O'Neill, and Margaret Massman. Opening Tuesday, January 16, the Broadway tour of GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY begins a week at Shea's, with music by Bob Dylan and book by Dublin-born Conor McPherson (THE WEIR, PORT AUTHORITY, THE SHINING CITY, THE SEAFARER). For 31 years (as of November 2023) Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, and The Stratford Festival are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
  • While the theater community thinks of seasons starting with "Curtain Up!" in September and ending with The Artie Awards in June, often at the end of a calendar year, it's common to look at theater folk whom we lost. Anthony has fond personal memories of seeing many who were mentioned in a recent Playbill.com article. For 31 years (as of November 2023) Theater Talk has been appointment listening on WBFO, featuring the insights of theater critic and historian, Anthony Chase, who joins Peter Hall for a five-minute weekly broadcast at 6:45 and 8:45 Friday mornings on 88.7 WBFO with a podcast available on wbfo.org. NOTE: Theater listings are included with the podcast. As part of BTPM (Buffalo Toronto Public Media), their beat is primarily Buffalo theater, but Broadway, The Shaw Festival, and The Stratford Festival are covered as other relevant art forms are touched on, including ballet and opera.
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