According to a representative for AEA, Tony n' Tina producers Kim and Sonny Ricciardi of Broadway Entertainment, LLC, issued a notice that the production would close March 27 at Sophia's within the Edison Hotel. On April 5 producers contacted Equity cast members to inform them that the production would relocate to a new venue.
AEA alleges that the producers then directly approached cast members about remaining with the show "on the condition they resign membership in Equity or work without Equity representation." Members of the actors union have not performed the show since March 27.
If the National Labor Relations Board finds the claim to be valid, a formal complaint would be filed, followed by a trial.
Tony n' Tina's Wedding is currently selling tickets for performances at Sweet Caroline's in midtown Manhattan. An AEA spokesperson confirms that its members are not involved in the production.
Producer Kim Ricciardi issued this statement following the AEA charges: "In being concerned about our cast, we did the only thing we knew to do which was just offer them all to come with us, as we explained it would be non-union. We wanted only to give them first right. We did not intend to violate any rules by Equity but felt we had a responsibility as their employers to offer everyone a fair chance to continue working. We felt not offering them to stay would have been unfair. "Our only other option was to close the show, and in that case everybody would loose [sic]. It is not a great option, but it was our only option in order to keep TNT NY running and prevent this long lasting show from closing down. It has been our goal to keep it running from day one, there have been many challenges in doing so, however, we can only hope that our choices are best for the entire show as a whole."
Tony n' Tina producers came under fire last fall when members of Local 802, the union representing professional musicians, stated they had been locked out of the theatre and replaced with pre-recorded accompaniment tracks.