Karen Pittman

I had just graduated from NYU graduate acting and had all the tools for getting my theatre career started except for one – my Equity card. Before grad school, I had been one of those actresses who stood in line early in the morning, cradling a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee, hoping to get seen in one of the many open calls to finally be discovered. Years later, my callback at the McCarter Theatre for their A Christmas Carol was really exciting because I would receive my Equity Card. When I booked the job, I realized it would mean that I had finally arrived in American theatre and would stand amongst my idols, Ruby Dee, Lena Horne, Tonya Pinkins and many others. I was thrilled.

Ten years after that, my Equity membership means a lot more. After having worked at the McCarter, Lincoln Center, Second Stage, regional theatres in Los Angeles and Boston and of course, on Broadway, my Equity card means I’m protected, my work is protected, my income is protected and I can provide health insurance for myself and for my children. I love our Equity representative, who I know really cares about the actors who work in the union, and the community of actors who take care of each other as union members. And frankly, I didn’t realize how important a union is for actors who are as physically active as I have been on stage.  Many young actors don’t realize the physical toll acting takes on your body. Equity protects our instruments as well.

I’m so proud to have my Equity card as it represents my accomplishments in my career, but also the commitment to a good quality of life for actors across America. 

Thank you, Equity!

Originally published in Equity News, Spring 2018.