Local 802 Protests Use of Taped Music For Ballet Production at NY State Theatre

Volume CI, No. 4April, 2001

On Feb. 19 Local 802 brought its live music campaign to the New York State Theatre, as about 15 members and staff passed out informational leaflets protesting the use of tape for a ballet performance.

The event – “International Stars of the Ballet,” a one-time performance of various repertoire featuring young ballet performers from around the world – was produced by Solomon Tencer Productions. Tape had last been used for a ballet performance at the NYS Theatre in 1999, during the New York City Ballet orchestra strike.

The leaflet asked audience members the simple question, “Why are tonight’s ballet performers dancing to tape rather than to live music?” It also answered the question: “Producers make more money when they use tapes.” Many audience members responded to the information with shock and surprise, since they had no idea that a production of this kind at the NYS Theatre would be performed to tape when they purchased their tickets.

The leafleting effort was put together on very short notice. While the turnout this time was not large, Local 802 is making plans to step up our efforts to inform the public when they are being cheated out of a live performance. A task force to mobilize members and friends at short notice for these kinds of activities was recently established by President Moriarity and the 802 Executive Board.

Among the compelling reasons for building this campaign is the fact that live performance is what makes New York City unique, and why millions visit our city each year. Cheating the public out of the live performances they expect will, in the long run, hurt all of us who work in or depend upon the city’s cultural and entertainment industries.