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'42nd Street' Will Ignore Picket Line

January 09, 1987|HERMAN WONG | Times Staff Writer

Officials of Freedman Forum, the new theater in the round in Anaheim, said the facility's opening Tuesday of the musical "42nd Street" will not be affected by picketing union stage workers.

"They have the right to picket; we have the right to open a show," said Leo Freedman, owner-developer of the 2,300-seat, $8-million downtown facility next to Anaheim City Hall.

"We're opening as planned Tuesday--and we're going stay open as planned," Freedman said. His locally produced version of the "42nd Street" musical, starring Constance Towers and Peter Marshall, is scheduled to run at least four weeks.

The pickets, who set up their line Tuesday, represent the Anaheim-based Local 504 of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, the union for stagehands and other technical workers.

Neither the stage workers' union nor the Orange County Musicians Assn. has an agreement with Freedman Forum. Spokesmen for those unions contend that Freedman officials have rebuffed all attempts at negotiations.

Freedman Forum does have a contract with Actors' Equity Assn., which covers 30 people, including stage managers, for the "42nd Street" production. Edward Weston, Actors' Equity regional director in Los Angeles, said Equity members will not recognize the picket line. "Under our contracts, we're obligated not to, unless there's some kind of physical risk in crossing (the picket line)."

Said Wayne Brandt, Local 504's business representative: "They (Freedman officials) gave us the impression they wanted a union house and they wanted to talk to us. We even sent a proposal at their request last October. But now they they keep putting us off."

The Santa Ana-based Musicians Assn. Local 7 has not yet decided whether to join in the informational picket line. "Frankly, it's a very day-to-day situation," said Douglas Sawtelle, Local 7 president. "We've tried to talk with them (Freedman Forum), but they never really respond. We're hoping, of course, that the situation may change."

James Woodin, Freedman Forum general manager, said the theater has employed 140, including stage workers, for "42nd Street." He declined to comment on the picketing or possible talks with the stage workers' and musicians' unions.

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