Late last week, striking members of IATSE Local 8, Philadelphia’s stagehands union, began targeting the businesses of Philadelphia Theatre Company’s board members, as PTC opened a stripped-down version of its latest play, The Mountaintop, without the stagehands. The union demanded that the board members resign or suffer an appearance by the giant inflatable rat. And today, I learned that PTC board member Salvatore Patti (pictured) has resigned.
Patti, a vice-president with PNC Bank, did not want to talk about his resignation or the strike, but a PNC Bank spokesperson told me that Patti resigned not because of any threats from the union but because of a “potential conflict of interest.” According to Local 8 business manager Mike Barnes, Local 8 does its banking with PNC.
Meanwhile, the strike continues as does the run of The Mountaintop. Barnes tells me that the giant union rat popped up over the weekend in front of the home of PTC board president Priscilla Luce and that the union has taken its protest to the personal and professional Facebook pages of board members. He says that the next step is to go after the companies that advertise in the show’s Playbill, and perhaps the New York headquarters of Playbill itself.
There’s no end in sight for the strike. I told PTC spokesperson Deborah Fleischman that I’d be curious to see both the pre-strike and after-strike versions of the show. “There’s not going to be another version,” was her reply.
One PTC source told me that some theatergoers have been requesting refunds. “They’ve been refunding anyone who asks for it either before or after seeing the show,” said the source. “They’re also refunding parking.”