(March 2, 2018) The Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds (COBUG) on Wednesday elected Laura Penn of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) and D. Joseph Hartnett of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) to be Co-Chairs. They replace longtime Chair Anthony DePaulo of IATSE, who is retiring this week. Additionally, Lawrence Paone, President of the Treasurers & Ticketsellers Union, IATSE Local 751, was elected Secretary-Treasurer.
“I thank COBUG for their trust, and I know Laura and I have big shoes to fill,” said Hartnett. “Thanks to Tony for his dedication to getting this coalition off the ground and building it into a strong voice for all Broadway workers. I look forward to continuing COBUG’s commitment to supporting the women and men who work on Broadway and ensuring that all Broadway jobs are good jobs with fair pay.”
“Day in day out the workers on Broadway make immeasurable contributions to, and play an essential role, in this industry’s success,” said Penn. “It’s a privilege to work with Joe and all our COBUG colleagues to continue to foster relationships between our unions and guilds on behalf of all of our members.”
Laura Penn joined SDC as Executive Director in 2008 after a 25-year career in LORT management. While keeping a keen eye on the challenges currently facing directors and choreographers, Ms. Penn has begun forging partnerships with key industry constituents, focusing on improving the Union’s communications capabilities and expanding its reach and scope within the industry. Before joining SDC, Laura was the Managing Director of Seattle’s Intiman Theatre for 14 years. Prior to Intiman, Laura worked at Seattle Rep and Arena Stage.
D. Joseph Hartnett has been the Assistant Department Director for Stagecraft at the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) since 2013, and was an International Representative from 2009-2013. A member of Local 3 Stagehands and Local 862 Treasurers & Ticket Sellers in Pittsburgh, he served as Business Agent for Local 3 from 2006-2009.
Anthony DePaulo was elected Co-Chair when the Coalition was founded in 2003, and has served as solo Chair since 2009. DePaulo is also retiring from his role as Co-Director of the Stagecraft Department for IATSE, which he has held since 2004. He was elected to the IATSE Executive Board in 2002 and served as an International Vice President until retiring in 2017. Mr. DePaulo has been a member of IATSE Local 1 since 1975, serving three terms as a Trustee starting in 1988, and three terms as Business Manager starting in 1996.
On behalf of COBUG, Cecilia Friederichs of United Scenic Artists Local 829 said, “We express our deepest gratitude to Mr. DePaulo for his many years of exemplary service to COBUG and the strong leadership he has shown throughout that time. He took up the task in a challenging moment and has guided COBUG in finding its mission and its voice, building a safe space to explore all workers’ mutual needs and interests in order to build community among the organizations representing the women and men on Broadway. He has the sincere thanks of all the COBUG members.”
The Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds (COBUG) is made up of Unions and Guilds that represent over 75,000 people who work to bring Broadway to life. COBUG was established to strengthen the position of Unions and Guilds within the industry, to participate in decision making that affects Broadway and the art and craft of theatre at large, and to educate the broader community about the collective role Coalition members play in keeping our industry vibrant and healthy.