More than 1000 people attended the Gala. The opening of the festivities was a video history of Local One that will be used in the future for the orientation of our incoming members. The fabulous Radio City Rockettes immediately followed the video. Their precision and beauty were even more extraordinary because we were all so much closer to them than in Radio City Music Hall.
President Claffey then welcomed everybody to the Gala. Representatives from many areas of Local One’s jurisdiction performed. Eric Owens of the Metropolitan Opera gave a rousing rendition of “Old Man River.” Bebe Neuwirth sang, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre performed a duet, David Letterman had prepared a video “Top Ten List,” and the “Million Dollar Quartet” closed the evening.But, it wasn’t just about entertainment. Local One was honored by proclamations from Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg. The I.A.T.S.E. International President Matthew D. Loeb spoke movingly of our leadership. The New York State AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes spoke to the need for unions like ours in this time of crisis.Finally and most importantly, Local One honored others. First, honorary membership cards were presented to Bebe Neuwirth for her unstinting support of so many of the organizations that aid our members such as the Actors Fund and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA); BC/EFA was honored for it years of work against AIDS and its support of the Actors Fund; and Phil Hymes, lighting designer, for all of the assistance he has given our members over a long career.