Local USA 829 Protests New York Times' Deletion of Designer Credits in Theatre Reviews

News   Local USA 829 Protests New York Times' Deletion of Designer Credits in Theatre Reviews
 
United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829, the labor union and professional association of designers, artists and craftspeople, is asking members of its union to protest the New York Times' recent decision to omit the list of designer credits that has traditionally followed theatrical reviews, both in print and online.

According to the union's official website, "Many of our colleagues are up in arms about the [New York Times'] decision… The Union has sent a letter to the editors of the New York Times and we encourage all of our members to do the same."

The union suggests emails or letters be sent to Danielle Mattoon, culture editor; Scott Heller, theatre editor and deputy editor for Arts & Leisure; or Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman & publisher.

A sample letter explains that the "small box at the end of each review is extremely important to many of us; theatre-goers and professionals alike. Not only did the credit box provide basic information about the location and dates for the production, it also provided your readers with basic information of who worked to create the show: the author, cast, designers, director and other key creative personnel. The vast majority of people who contribute to any production work behind the scenes and by eliminating their credits you have taken away the minimal recognition that these important workers receive."

"In other areas," the sample letter continues, "the NY Times seems to adhere to the philosophy 'give credit where credit is due' but abandon it here. The contributors to an article or editorial in the NY Times are always listed; a photograph on your website always credits the photographer or source; why then is it acceptable to ignore the contributors to a live theatrical production? This is especially dismissive in a city such as NYC where the performing arts are such a vital part of the economy and our daily life.

"Broadway alone contributes nearly $12 billion to the economy of NYC in addition to the ticket sales, and 87,000 local jobs. It is considered one of NYC’s greatest tourist destinations with 6.7 million tickets bought by tourists during the 2014-15 season alone. The artists who create the product that drives this economic engine deserve recognition." Click here for more information about the union.

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