Residence: Brooklyn, NY
Contracts worked: Production (League), LORT (Rep), LORT (Non-rep), Off-Broadway, ANTC, CORST, COST (Special), COST II, Special Arrangement, LOA, LOA-NYC, Mini, Developmental Lab, Staged Reading
Fair wages are key to keeping my beloved theater community inclusive, sustainable, and accessible.
I’ve worked on 60 Equity productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in regional theaters from Cambridge to Tucson. I’ve made my living as an actor, mainly on stage, partly because when I started 33 years ago, the cost of living was relatively low. But as the cost of living soared and wages flatlined, the career that brought me such joy became inaccessible to many. And so I helped found #FairWageOnStage.
During the Off-Broadway negotiations, I co-wrote our petition to management signed by over 1100 members, was a spokesperson for our press campaign, and otherwise agitated to help get a better deal. Hundreds of us organized and gave Equity leverage to make historic gains, but we have further to go.
Working with #FairWageOnStage led me to conversations with an MIT professor specializing in poverty—whose research helped SEIU win big—on how to crack the problem of substandard wages in our path-dependent industry. Those talks inspired conversations with a Minnesota legislator who had created a landmark fund for public lands, clean water, and the arts. I then kicked off an ongoing dialogue between Equity members and artistic directors of theaters with budgets between a few hundred thousand dollars and $41 million to raise us all up. Now I’m buttonholing City Council members to boost stage managers’ and actors’ wages in a model for arts funding for cities across the country.
Please let me use my grit and tenacity on Equity’s Council to champion fair pay across contracts for the important work you do.
I was born in San Antonio. After we had our 1968 World’s Fair, the town seemed small to my folks, both WWII veterans who had seen a lot of Europe and the Pacific during their tours of duty, and who were frustrated that it took at least a day to drive anywhere out of Texas. So they moved to the DC suburbs when I was six and raised me in Fairfax County. I saw a LOT of President’s birthplaces and battlefields, thanks to my wonderful parents.
I moved to New York City in 1982 to attend NYU’s Graduate Acting Program, and have lived in three of the five boroughs; currently I’m in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, which I love.
I serve on the Off-Broadway committee and am an observer on the LORT committee.
I got my Equity card in 1985, playing Clarence Day, Jr. in “Life With Father” at the Pittsburgh Public Theater.
I don’t have kids or pets, so I’d like to use my time on Council, if elected, to help you be better able to feed yours.
Equity is important to me because over the past 33 years I’ve made my living mainly in the theater. It’s a career that’s brought me a lot of joy, but also isn’t easy, so having a safe workplace, reasonable hours, a day off, affordable health insurance, a decent place to live when I’m working out of town, and knowing someday I’ll have a pension—all these things make the life easier, and those things are thanks to our union. Also, I’ve been proud to have been a member of a few unions for 33 years. I identify with the American labor movement, and think of myself as a worker, and during this administration, I can think of few things more patriotic at this dark time than being an active member of a union devoted to protecting artists that is run mainly by women.
I lettered in high school debate. A judge at my first tournament said I sounded like Barbara Jordan.
I wrote this essay, and I believe in it: http://howlround.com/theatre-as-resistance
Each plank in the #FairWageOnCouncil platform has a page of its own where you can read about it in greater detail. Just click on the text of the planks your are interested in learning more about.