As I write this, there is a rally being held in New York City outside of Radio City music hall, during a rehearsal for the Tony Awards. This rally consists of casting directors and Broadway actors as well as other numerous supporters — all rallying for rights for casting directors.
“Casting directors are the only Broadway workers without a union contract, denying them healthcare and retirement,” says teamsters New York. Despite the growing wealth of the Broadway industry (specific charts here), casting directors are still denied the most basic career rights and again remain the only Broadway workers without a contract or union, while occupying a vital role in the theater world. Casting directors are responsible for filling roles for a musical or play and because of the lack of union they work on a free-lance basis. This in many cases creates problems for freelancers because they lack most any benefits — meaning NO healthcare or retirement, and there is little chance of gaining either without a union for casting
As this issue has gained traction, Broadway actors and actresses have come to support the cause, rightfully so. Each and every performer from Hollywood to Broadway owes their success to a casting director, the people behind a “big break”. These people have flocked to Twitter and Instagram to support the cause, creating a prominent social media campaign to get the word out. Each holds a sign in a selfie stating “I support casting directors #fairnessforcasting”.
Currently, Broadway casting directors are forming a union with “Teamsters local 817” and are urging people to participate in their social media campaign. “Please take a picture of yourself holding one of our “I Support Casting Directors” signs and post it on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages with the #FairnessForCasting hashtag. Or email the photo to us at firstname.lastname@example.org,” says Teamsters. Download the sign here or here