Protesters Gather Outside GOP-Attended Broadway Matinees

News   Protesters Gather Outside GOP-Attended Broadway Matinees
Though a feared walkout by actors at the eight Broadway shows attended by GOP delegates on Aug. 29 did not materialize, some protesters opposed to the conventioneers and their presence in New York City did gather outside select theatres.

Sunday was the one day Republicans chose to attend the theatre. The GOP approved shows included The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aida, 42nd Street, Bombay Dreams, Fiddler on the Roof, The Phantom of the Opera and Wonderful Town. The convention bought out each of the eight matinees.

The New York Times reported that a dozen protesters gathered outside the Majestic Theatre, where Phantom of the Opera is playing, and heckled delegates as they exited the house. Outside the New Amsterdam, home of The Lion King, a group held up banners saying "Lyin' King," Variety reported.

The trade also said that delegates leaving Aida were taunted with chants of "RNC go home," spurring arguments between the protesters and the theatregoers.

In an unusual dictum apparently issued in response to rumors of a protest walk-out on Broadway, Actors' Equity instructed its performer members to report to work as usual during the Republican Convention. An Aug. 26 posting on the Equity website read: "Actors' Equity, the national union representing actors and stage managers in the U.S., has advised its members working on Broadway to report to work as usual during the upcoming Republican National Convention in New York City. 'Our members are consummate professionals and will, pursuant to our collective bargaining agreement, honor their obligations to our employers, as well as our audiences,' said Equity executive director Alan Eisenberg. Equity has a long standing policy that the Association does not endorse or take a position on any political candidate or party."

Equity spokesperson Maria Somma said a group called Shut It Down NYC! had reached out to Broadway casts in an attempt to organize a desertion of Times Square stages in protest of the presence of Republicans delegates in the city and in Broadway auditoriums. On its website, Shut It Down NYC! States, "We are attempting to connect with Actors' Equity and other unions to try to get their memberships involved. We are also hoping to get a high profile actor to sign on."

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