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Joshua Ford,
Director of Communications and Marketing
Olney Theatre Center
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Olney, MD – April 21, 2016 – Olney Theatre Center, Maryland’s longest-running regional producing theater and the American Federation of Musicians Local 161-710  are proud to announce that they have come to terms on the first collective bargaining agreement between the two organizations.  The agreement, which was ratified by union members on April 19, 2016 will allow AFM members to continue performing as part of Olney Theatre’s award-winning musical productions. This concludes a process which began last summer when Olney’s musicians voted in an NLRB election to unionize and chose AFM Local 161-710 to represent them. The agreement runs through July 2019.

“When the musicians chose to unionize we were pleased to work with their elected representatives to secure an agreement that serves all our interests,” said Debbie Ellinghaus, Olney Theatre’s Managing Director. “This agreement enables us to continue working with the most talented musicians in a manner consistent with our strategic plan for growing Olney Theatre Center’s programs and artistic ambitions.”

“This is the dawn of a new day for the musicians at Olney Theatre who made the decision to take this important step forward,” said Ed Malaga, President of D.C. Federation of Musicians,  “and this agreement represents well deserved recognition for their contributions to the success of musical productions there. We look forward to a bright future at Olney Theatre.”

Since the arrival of Jason Loewith as Artistic Director in 2013, Olney Theatre Center has grown its reputation as a producer of some of the highest-quality musicals in the region. Its production of A CHORUS LINE won the 2013 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Musical; in 2014 Olney received a nomination for Outstanding Musical for HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING; and its 2015 production of CAROUSEL was critically acclaimed and appeared on many year-end “Best Of” lists. The equally heralded production of GUYS AND DOLLS completed its run on January 10 after being extended twice. This winter, Loewith and Olney Theatre co-produced the World Premiere of a new musical, CARMEN: AN AFRO-CUBAN JAZZ MUSICAL directed by Moisés Kaufman (THE LARAMIE PROJECT) with music adapted and composed by Grammy Award-winner Arturo O’Farrill. In June, Olney Theatre will produce Andrew Lloyd Weber’s EVITA.

In addition to the American Federation of Musicians, Olney Theatre Center also has agreements with Actors’ Equity Association, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and United Scenic Artists.


About Olney Theatre Center

Olney Theatre Center is an award-winning, nonprofit, Equity theatre. Located just north of Washington, D.C. in arts-rich Montgomery County, Maryland, Olney Theatre Center offers a diverse array of professional productions year-round. Olney Theatre Center is situated on 14 acres in the heart of the beautiful Washington-Baltimore-Frederick “triangle,” within easy access of all three cities. Olney Theatre Center is home to National Players, America’s longest-running touring company and is led by Artistic Director Jason Loewith and Managing Director Debbie Ellinghaus. For more information, please visit Follow Olney Theatre Center on Twitter @olneytheatre and on Facebook at


About the American Federation of Musicians
AFM has been promoting and protecting musicians for more than 110 years. Local 161-710 has been serving Washington area musicians since 1901 and continues to be an effective advocate for musicians’ rights in the workplace, be that a nightclub, symphony stage, recording studio or on tour. The AFM and Local 161-710 protect musicians from unlawful recording or exploitation of their recordings and provide several types of benefit programs that help them build successful careers. AFM members are secure in knowing that their organization is actively lobbying to promote legislation and public awareness that protects musicians’ interests, and negotiating collective bargaining agreements with the recording, motion picture, video game and jingle industries, TV networks, National Public TV and Radio, providing excellent wages and working conditions.