In response to repeated outcries from the theatre community after The NY Times, the newspaper of record for Broadway, dropped designers’ names from the credit box that runs with reviews, the publication has restored these credits in both its print and digital editions. As part of a letter-writing and social media campaign, 850 members of the designers’ union signed a letter to the Times, as did 80 playwrights, whose letter stated (the full letter here):
"We playwrights are always mentioned in the listings and reviews. This is not about us. We think the stage managers and sound and lighting and set and costume designers we work with are just as important as we are when it comes to making theater.
These people are so often overlooked, even though our medium is, literally, coordinating moving bodies, in clothing, with accompanying sound, through light and architectural space. The credits at the end of the reviews and listings are often the only way designers and stage managers are recognized at all. And these people are real artists. They're not helpers. They're our collaborators. They're the show itself."
The following is a letter from Local 829’s national business agent, Cecilia A. Friederichs, to the membership:
Sisters and Brothers,
It is with great pleasure that I write you today to inform you that the full listing of designer credits following theatrical reviews in The New York Times has been RESTORED!
Currently, the full listing of credits has been restored in print and on The New York Times mobile website. It has not yet been restored on the full website.
The restoration of designer credits following theater reviews came as a direct result of your activism. By making your voice heard through discussion on social media, in the comments sections of reviews, adding 850 of your names to the letter sent on behalf of the membership of United Scenic Artists, Local 829 protesting the elimination of the credit listings, and joining with fellow artists and collaborators in speaking out-you were able to tell the staff of The New York Times that this decision is unacceptable.
Thank you for all of your work and your support for one another surrounding this issue. When we make our voices heard, we can make a difference. A special thanks to our 80 playwright colleagues for their very eloquent letter of support. We suggest that our actions of complaint be followed by actions of thanks to the NY Times for this positive response.
Cecilia A. Friederichs
National Business Agent