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Equity Reins in Twittering CD

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It only takes 140 characters to spark a controversy. New York casting director Daryl Eisenberg learned that lesson last week when her use of the social-networking tool Twitter set Internet message boards aflame and attracted scrutiny from Actors' Equity Association.

Eisenberg's Twitter feed drew attention after she tweeted from the audition room during an Aug. 12 Equity principal audition for "Gay Bride of Frankenstein," which is scheduled to debut in September at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Without naming names, the casting director commented on several actors appearing before her, in tweets such as "If we wanted to hear it a different way, don't worry, we'll ask" and "If you are going to sing about getting on your knees, might as well do it and crawl towards us...right?" Eisenberg said she tweeted only during breaks, never while performers were working.

But that didn't stop Equity from stepping in. By that afternoon, a representative had told the website BroadwayWorld
.com that the union was looking into the situation.

The next day, Eisenberg told Back Stage that she would continue to tweet from the audition room, though with "a different tone and a different time frame." But Equity continued to publicly criticize the casting director. "Every actor expects and deserves to be treated with respect and professionalism in this very competitive business," Equity spokeswoman Maria Somma said, "and when those values are so cavalierly and irresponsibly eroded as they have been in this case, you see the kind of firestorm this young lady has created by her actions."

By the end of that day, a casting notice had been released announcing what was essentially a do-over for the "Gay Bride of Frankenstein" audition, inviting back actors who had already appeared at the Aug. 12 EPA. In a statement on its website, Equity claimed that the producer, Billy Butler, "immediately understood the negative impact" that Eisenberg's tweeting "had on members who were auditioning."

But what looked like a gathering storm dissipated Aug. 14 after Eisenberg met with Equity representatives. The casting director issued a statement calling the meeting "productive," adding, "By mutual agreement, future tweets will not be coming from the audition room regarding the actors auditioning." Equity also released a statement, saying, "AEA firmly believes that Twitter is a valuable promotional tool for producers to reach a wide potential audience but that tweeting has absolutely no place in the audition room" and declaring the case closed.

An Equity representative declined to comment further on the contents of the Aug. 14 meeting. Eisenberg did not return a request for further comment.

Daniel Holloway

SAG Ballots to Be Mailed

Ballots for the Screen Actors Guild's national officer and board elections are scheduled to be mailed to eligible guild members Aug. 25. Ballots for the New York and Hollywood division elections are also slated to be sent that day. All ballots must be returned by Sept. 24, the date that votes are scheduled to be tabulated. The candidates for national president are Seymour Cassel, Ken Howard, Anne-Marie Johnson, and Asmar Muhammed. The candidates for secretary-treasurer are Amy Aquino and Connie Stevens.

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