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Blood on the Stage

Dylan union fight.

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It wasn’t just audiences and critics who didn’t know what to make of Twyla Tharp’s Bob Dylan musical The Times They Are A-Changin’. The American Guild of Musical Artists (which reps opera singers and ballet dancers) and Actors’ Equity had been fighting about which would negotiate for—and collect dues from—the performers. Actors’ Equity argued that it was “a musical with a plot and a story line,” but Associated Actors and Artistes of America president Theodore Bikel, who judges such things, gave it to the Guild. “I am not unfamiliar with the music and lyrics of Dylan’s work, and to my mind, whatever attempts that may have been made here to link them have failed,” declared Bikel (who played the original Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music). “This show is a circus-themed collection of choreographed Dylan songs, none of which constitute a story line that is carried forward from number to number.” But it’s all over now: The show closed November 19 after 28 performances.

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