Playbill On-Line has learned that actor Barry Williams will walk away from the non-union Troika Productions tour of The Sound of Music after press reports cited the actor's conflict with the union over accepting the work. A full report from the union is expected soon, but an Equity source told Playbill On-Line that as a result of the actor's decision to leave the show, "all charges against him will be dropped."
As reported earlier, Williams, a member of Actors Equity since 1974, was set to face a disciplinary hearing over taking the lead role in Troika's The Sound of Music, which begins touring Oct. 27 in Fort Myers, Fla. Williams was to have played Captain Von Trapp.
Equity executive director Alan Eisenberg said that "informal conversations" had taken place with the Troika production company , which pays $250 (rehearsals) and $400 (performances) weekly. By comparison, union scale for the same work is $1,180 weekly plus a substantial diem for road work as well as health benefits and pension.
Citing unity with SAG and AFTRA, which are now in the midst of a prolonged commercial strike, Equity has asked SAG and AFTRA to begin their own disciplinary actions against Williams.
A late call to Williams' attorney was not returned by press time. Equity said that press coverage of the story was considered a factor in the outcome of the Williams/Troika situtation. In recent weeks, actors from the Screen Actors Guild, the Amercian Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Actors' Equity Association have adopted high profile media campaigns to generate awareness and support during the commercial strike by actors over commercial residuals. In these efforts, top drawer actors led by Paul Newman have made numerous personal appearances on strike lines in an effort to engage the media and get the union message out.
-- By Murdoch McBride