Rosie O'Donnell: Union Demands Killed My Broadway Musical

Suddenly, unions aren't looking so bad ...

On her radio show Friday, Rosie O'Donnell fielded a call from a California woman who said she is a member of a correctional officers' union. Although the union has helped her, the caller told O'Donnell, it comes with baggage (audio) --

CALLER: I do understand that the unions help, they totally help, and I wouldn't even have the little bit that I have if it wasn't for the unions. But I also know, and I know, that there's people that do take advantage and they're the people that give us a bad name.

O'DONNELL: Right, I understand what you're saying. There's definitely in many unions the need for reform. I know, for example, on Broadway. You know, I was producing a Broadway musical many years ago and because of the musicians' union, we were forced to have an orchestra of ...

O'DONNELL SIDEKICK: I believe, I don't really know the exact number ...

O'DONNELL: Twenty-three?

SIDEKICK: Something like that. Twenty-one, twenty-three.

O'DONNELL: Twenty-one or twenty-three, with a show that really could have done with an orchestra of ...

SIDEKICK: Eight or nine.

O'DONNELL: ... eight or nine. We didn't need a full book because of the union. And the cost of that was, you know, really prohibitive in terms of our ability to keep the show open and to keep the business of Broadway thriving. And, you know, there were union issues that we had to deal with while, you know, I was producing a musical. And do I think that in the teachers' union and the Department of Corrections and, is there room for reform? Yes! But does that mean the right to collective bargaining should be thrown out so that corporations have all the power over how they will or will not treat their employees and are you going to expect a corporation to take care of you voluntarily because morally they feel it's right? Corporations are not moral, they're not human beings. They are money-making ventures.

.... much like Broadway musicals, unless produced by O'Donnell while hampered by "union issues."

O'Donnell didn't name the musical, but she was presumably referring to "Taboo," a production starring '80s pop singer Boy George that closed after 100 performances.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts