Every other week, the editors of American Theatre curate a free-ranging discussion about the lively arts.
This week, we take a deep dive into the roiling brouhaha over the L.A. 99-Seat Theatre Plan, and Actors Equity’s new proposals to change it from non-remunerative “showcase”-type code to an actual, minimum-wage-paying contract. It’s a topic we’ve covered with an in-depth piece or two, but to address the controversy’s national implications—and explain it to people not familiar with the Los Angeles theatre scene—senior Rob Weinert-Kendt, who cut his teeth covering the West Coast, is joined by Isaac Butler, a longtime D.C.- and Brooklyn-based theatremaker, freelance writer and all-around culture pundit (mainly on his blog Parabasis). The conversation veers into some obvious and many unexpected areas on this hot-button issue.
Meanwhile, Rob is joined by fellow senior editor Eliza Bent for a chat about the upcoming issue of American Theatre and about a new frontier of theatrical experimentation: showtimes. The two editors conclude the show with recommendations: This time it’s Eliza’s turn to rave about the musical phenom Hamilton (now headed for Broadway), and Rob gives long overdue props to the indispensable L.A. theatre website Bitter Lemons, a review-aggregating site which has been ground zero for the 99-seat wars.