Following yesterday's news that Patti LuPone has dropped her membership in Actors' Equity Association, the three-time Tony winner has revealed more about what went into the decision, telling People that she was no longer interested in being a member of the "worst union."
The Company star told the magazine that the union, which administers contracts and provides other services for nearly all actors and stage managers on Broadway and at many professional regional theatres around the country, doesn't "support actors at all. ... They're just not good. And I just didn't want to give them any more money." She goes on to clarify that while the decision was inspired by a career choice to not return to Broadway for the foreseeable future, that doesn't mean we won't see her back on the boards again at some point. "[T]he best kept secret is that you can perform without being a member of Equity. Nobody knows that, so I don't use their services."
In almost every case, Broadway shows solely employ actors and stage managers who are members of Actors' Equity, though a seldom-used provision allows non-members to pay nominal dues to cover the union's contract administration without becoming a full member, essentially making it possible for LuPone to return to Broadway without re-joining Equity. LuPone could also appear in any non-union production. Actors' Equity does not have any jurisdiction over film and TV work, so the move will not affect LuPone's screen career.
LuPone's long Broadway career includes Tony wins in 1980 for Evita, 2008 for Gypsy, and 2022 for Company. Known for her high-flying belting and Juilliard-trained acting prowess, she has also appeared on Broadway in Working, Oliver!, Anything Goes, Noises Off, Sweeney Todd, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and War Paint, among others.