Dodger Theatricals, the producing powerhouse behind The Music Man, 42nd Street, Urinetown and the upcoming Into the Woods and Dracula, has withdrawn from the League of American Theaters and Producers, a spokesman for the Dodgers confirmed.
"The Dodgers believe that the league doesn't represent their own business interests at this time," spokesman Adrian Bryan-Brown said in a statement.
Like Disney, Dodger Theatricals will now negotiate union contracts and other deals independently from the league, but this will not mean Dodger product cannot be eligible for Tony Award consideration. It is thought the withdrawl stems from the Dodgers not being included in labor concession talks following the Sept. 11 tragedy in New York. A handful of producers sought pay cuts to weather the period of tourist-theatregoer trepidation after the terrorist bombings in New York, but Dodger shows were apparently not included in those talks.
"There is dismay in the house and among the producers" that unions will not consider Music Man as falling under the same criteria of...other Broadway shows that got concessions last week, Bryan-Brown told Playbill On-Line at the time (Sept. 26). Those shows — Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Rent, The Full Monty, Chicago and Kiss Me, Kate — were considered brand name shows that rely heavily on tourist trade. Their casts and crews agreed to a 25 percent across-the-board pay cut for a limited period until business picked up again. "The Dodgers believed the league was approaching labor as a group effort," Bryan-Brown told the trade paper, Variety, at the time. IATSE was reportedly not considering any more petitions for concessions for four weeks, but Music Man, internationally known and running longer than The Full Monty, eventually got the break from unions.
There was speculation in the theatre community that Dodger Theatricals was initially kept out of the concession plan because it was sending out a non-Equity national tour of The Music Man. Actors' Equity's Alan Eisenberg said in Variety that it would never put its members out of work to punish a producer. Dodgers Theatricals' Tony Award-winning 42nd Street weathered the storm without concessions. Those close to the show said a non-Equity 42nd Street tour is in the works.
According to Variety Nov. 12, "Insiders speculate the Dodgers' membership translated into approximately $200,000 in assessments and fees to the league this year, and its departure from the trade org represents a significant blow to its power and influence in the industry."
Dodger Theatricals is a theatrical producing partnership comprising Michael David, Robin de Levita, Doug Johnson, Des McAnuff. Rocco Landesman, Edward Strong and Sherman Warner.
— By Kenneth Jones