After months of negotiation, Livent (U.S.) Inc., has struck a deal with Actors' Equity Association, the actor union, for a contract to govern casting of Livent shows. Effective June 1997, the contract will run to Sept. 24, 2000 and govern all companies of Ragtime, Candide, Barrymore and Show Boat.
Unlike most other Broadway owners/producers, Livent is not a member of The League of American Theatres & Producers, making it the first such organization to forge an agreement with Equity, the actors' union. Disney, which is also not in the League, is currently negotiating with Equity for its own contract, with sources saying resolution will come soon.
For its part, Livent will provide an "enhanced compensation package for actors." In exchange, Equity must allow longer term commitments for Chorus actors, thus minimizing the frequency of cast changes.
Livent's Chairman & CEO, Garth Drabinsky, said the agreement would "provide stability and artistic consistency...and substantially reduce Livent's expenses in recasting, rehearsing and recostuming replacement actors, especially in the company's large-scale musicals."
Actors' Equity president Ron Silver called the agreement, "a historic contract. Equity has always put the protection of the Chorus contract as one of its highest priorities. Now we have maintained the gains achieved in the recent Equity-League Production Contract negotiations, and have agreed to a new, groundbreaking, 12-month Chorus rider." Equity spokesperson Helaine Feldman (of Dick Moore & Associates), told Playbill On-Line that specific details on the contract (and its differences with League/Equity contracts) will follow "in a week or two."