Broadway Star Patti LuPone Blasts 'Worst Union'

3-time Tony winner says she's happy to be out 'of that circus'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2022 8:35 AM CDT
Broadway Star Patti LuPone Blasts 'Worst Union'
Patti LuPone, left, and Katrina Lenk during a performance of the Broadway musical "Company."   (Matthew Murphy/O & M Co./DKC via AP)

Three-time Tony winner Patti LuPone says her time on Broadway is over—at least for now. "When the run of Company ended this past July, I knew I wouldn't be onstage for a very long time," the 73-year-old says in a statement, per Deadline, adding she then resigned from the Actors' Equity Association, which supports Broadway actors and stage managers. Or at least it's supposed to. That "worst union" doesn't "support actors at all," LuPone tells People, adding she "didn't want to give them any more money." The actor and singer initially announced her withdrawal in a tweet, which referenced that her name had come up in discussions of another Broadway performer.

In the past, LuPone, who is white, has been praised for calling out audience members' use of cellphones during performances, per the Washington Post. But Lillias White of Hadestown, who is Black, received a very different response after calling out a hearing-impaired audience member for using a captioning device, which she mistook for a cellphone. The comparison was made after White began receiving racist and ageist abuse. "Quite a week on Broadway, seeing my name being bandied about," tweeted LuPone. "Gave up my Equity card; no longer part of that circus. Figure it out."

LuPone, who also appears on film and TV, tells People that she's not interested in "doing eight shows a week ever again." She adds the union accepted her resignation and told her she would need to be approved if she ever wanted to rejoin. "And it's the perfect reason I withdrew from Equity," she says. "I've been a card-carrying member [for 50 years], and they don't know who I am basically." That doesn't necessarily mean she's done performing on Broadway. "The best kept secret is that you can perform without being a member of Equity," she tells People. The outlet notes Broadway shows nearly always employ union members, though "some productions grant guest contracts." (Read more Broadway stories.)

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