The ongoing issues between the Actors’ Equity Union and Disney has apparently come to Disney replacing the ‘Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage’ show with non-union ‘The Disney Society Orchestra and Friends’ show.
According to Deadline the new is made up of a 20 minute instrumental concert that ends with characters like Belley, Beast, Mrs. Potts. Cogsworth, Chip and Lumiere coming on stage to wave goodbye to the audience.
It is literally a small band playing songs and then costumed actors, non-union, come out and move across the stage, dance a bit and wave at the audience.
Since the roles are non-speaking and they don’t follow any storyline, this means that the performance does not violate the terms Disney has with the Actors’ Equity Union according to Deadline:
“The use of the non-speaking characters, who do not enact any sort of storyline, does not violate the terms of Equity’s ongoing contract with the amusement park. The union has advised its members not to accept jobs from Walt Disney World due to the park’s refusal to institute COVID-19 testing and mask-wearing for actors.”
This isn’t the first instance this has happened. We already saw this with Up! A Great Bird Adventure replaced with ‘Feathered Friends in Flight.” Again, non-union actors are now playing the parts in a way that shouldn’t violate the contracts.
I’m assuming and hoping this is a temporary thing, until the regular performers can return.
Currently Disney and The Actors’ Equity Union are in ongoing “discussions” about the union’s performers.
They want Disney to provide more testing since most of the union members can’t wear the same protective gear that other Cast Members wear. It isn’t going well and when talks went downhill the union released an altered of the “Welcome Back” video with the Florida Coronavirus case numbers scrolling across it and some ominous music.
Many Actors’ Equity Union members want to return to work and some created a video about how Disney makes them feel safe and how they want to go back.
Right now Disney is doubling down and replacing performers and shows with non-union Cast Members.
I hope both sides can reach some sort of agreement soon. We would like to see those performers return with the magic and come back to work. This whole situation is likely very hard on everyone and I think we all want to see it settled.
What do you think? Comment and let us know!
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