When a dispute arose over actor Barry Williams' acceptance of non-union work in a Troika Production tour of The Sound of Music, Actors' Equity threatened discipinary action and sought similar measures from sister unions SAG and AFTRA. Within a few days, Equity announced that Williams had walked away from the role. Now, it appears that Williams is going out on tour after all as Captain Von Trapp, when Troika's Sound of Music starts performances on Oct. 27.
Williams, meanwhile, has stepped back from full union affiliation and requested "core financial" status, a step toward independence that usually prompts Equity's refusal to accept further dues from the member. While financial core status allows Williams to work for union and non-union companies, he will no longer enjoy the full benefits afforded members of Equity including the right to vote in union elections and the right to run for office.
As of Sept. 27, Equity informed Williams it would refuse his dues and reinstate its disciplinary actions against him. The union has also asked SAG and AFTRA to recommence their disciplinary procedures.
As reported earlier, the former "Brady Bunch" star Barry Williams has been a member of Actors Equity since 1974.
Equity executive director Alan Eisenberg has said that "informal conversations" took 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. Earlier in the conflict, Equity's Eisenberg called Williams' conduct "especially heinous at a time when thousands of actors are striking for better wages and working conditions."
Williams' attorney is traveling out of state and a late call to his office could not be returned by press time.
-- By Murdoch McBride