AGMA and Equity Battle for Jurisdiction Over Broadway's Movin' Out

News   AGMA and Equity Battle for Jurisdiction Over Broadway's Movin' Out A union dispute over coverage of Broadway's Movin' Out has broken out. The conflict has risen out of The Associated Actors and Artistes of America (4 A's) ruling that the Billy Joel-Twyla Tharp work falls under the jurisdiction of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA).

Actors' Equity Association (AEA) has declined to relinquish jurisdiction. According to Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg, "We wish to explore all possible remedies to this erroneous decision [by 4 A's]." He added in a released statement, "Our agreement is the best in the business; to convert will harm our members. We will explore all options so as to maintain the Equity contract."

The Associated Actors and Artistes of America is the performing arts branch of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO.) They ruled in favor of AGMA who believes "the content of a production (rather than the fact that it was produced by Broadway producers in a Broadway theater) should determine jurisdiction," as National Executive Director Alan S. Gordon explained in a released statement.

Much ado has come from Movin' Out as the work is primarily a dance piece in which Tharp has choreographed a story woven together using songs of Joel. The Tony Awards Administration Committee recently ruled the work as a new musical rather than a Special Theatrical Event, making it eligible to vie for the top Tony prize of Best Musical.

AGMA, as stated on their website, "represents the men and women who create America's operatic, choral, and dance heritage." AEA is "the union of American theatrical actors and stage managers. As show's on Broadway — like Movin' Out and Def Poetry Jam — have become more diversified, not only utilizing actors, the union lines have become blurred. Jurisdiction allows the unions to negotiate recordings contracts and broadcast rights.

AGMA also currently resides over the Broadway production of La Bohème, Baz Luhrman's take on the Puccini classic opera. AEA is located on the web at www.actorsequity.org. AGMA can be found at www.musicalartists.org.