Where Things Stand on the Les Miz Controversy

News   Where Things Stand on the Les Miz Controversy Here's where things stand regarding the controversy over the 12 Les Miserables firings:

Here's where things stand regarding the controversy over the 12 Les Miserables firings:

* No strike over the matter is being contemplated, according to Helaine Feldman of Dick Moore Associates, spokespersons for the actors' union, Actors Equity Association.

* As of 3:30 PM, Nov. 7, Equity Executive Secretary Alan Eisenberg was still meeting with Alan Wasser, general manager of the Broadway and U.S. touring productions of Les Miserables. A late afternoon call to Eisenberg by Playbill On-Line was routed back to Feldman, who relayed his official "no comment."

* Philip Smith, President of the Shubert Organization, refused to make any comment to Playbill On-Line regarding the Les Miz situation or Equity contract talks in general.

* According to a story in Variety, Cameron Mackintosh visited Les Miserables Sept. 21 and told Eisenberg a number of actors looked too old for their roles. Nevertheless, it came as a shock to Eisenberg when Alan Wasser, general manager of the Broadway and U.S. touring productions of Les Miserables, announced on Oct. 24 the wave of layoffs. Anger has swelled through Equity's ranks because Wasser knew this information three days before they were told on Oct. 27. * Despite controversy over how much he knew about the firings and when, on Nov. 5, Eisenberg was unanimously endorsed by the organization's Council.

* After their Nov. 5 meeting, the Council of Actors' Equity voted to delay the process of ratification for the new Equity contract.

The Council had approved the new contract for sending to those members who've worked under the old contract, for ratification. Asked whether delaying the ratification process would hurt Actors' Equity members as much or more than it would help them (since new contracts usually come with raises, better job security, etc.), Feldman noted that any changes in the new contract would, as usual, be retroactive, probably dating back to the time of the expiration of the previous contract on June 29, 1996. She also pointed out that the contract process is generally a lengthy one anyway, implying that a delay at this point isn't exactly earth-shaking.

* Les Miserables cast members attended the Nov. 5 Equity meeting to deal with other issues that surround what's been dubbed "the Miz Massacre."

For background on this controversy, please see Playbill On-Line's previous stories: on the Les Miserables firings: "Equity Calls Meeting on Les Miz Firings Nov. 5." and the subsequent, "Equity Meeting on Les Miz: Contracts Delayed, Eisenberg Backed."

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