Favorite Quotes Vol. XXXV: A Republican’s Thoughts on Labor Day

Happy Labor Day, readers.

This important national holiday celebrates the incredible contributions that workers of all different trades and skills have made to the development of this country.

In an industry like the theater, our “workers” (what a crap name) are essential to the development of our art form, as the skill, passion, and ingenuity of actors, stagehands, designers, etc. are what help us to push the boundaries of our medium, and keep thrilling audiences year after year.  They are the fuel of the theatrical industry.  Without them, we would go nowhere.

Labor and organized labor specifically often get a bad clichéd rap (don’t feel bad, unions, Producers get one, too).  But on days like this, it’s important to remember that this country was built on a system of checks and balances . . . and that goes for our industries as well.

And as this Republican (!) once said . . .

If a man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor he is a liar. If a man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool. There is no America without labor, and to fleece the one is to rob the other.
– Abraham Lincoln

Over the last twelve months, I’ve had a lot of people working with me on a variety of projects all over the world, as well as in my office . . . some in unions, some not.  But all are passionate about the theater.

And to each and every one of them I say thank you. Thank you for helping me to continue to pursue my dreams as you pursue yours.  Hopefully, together, we will make all of those dreams come true.

Happy Labor Day.


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  • Amy Leigh says:

    The best of us work in theatre because we love it (certainly, not for the pay). We have a screw loose and a dream we have the need to see fullfilled. We starve as artists and designers and builders of empires, not for dollars signs (though that helps) but for that sound at the end of a good show. Being a part of what earns that applause, in whatever small manner, can be an addictive fuel.

    Hello, my name is Amy. And I love what I do.

  • Amy Dolan Fletcher says:

    I read your blog all the time and really love it but have yet to comment. As a proud union member since the age of seven, I applaud your post today as well as your sincere appreciation of your colleagues an employees. I hope all producers feel like you and are just too shy to share their sentiments. Happy labor day!

  • Randy Bobish says:

    I, too, am a union actor who reads your blog regularly. It has been (and continues to be) a valuable education in what exactly comprises the “biz” side of Show. Building greater understanding between the various partners in our industry can only lead to even more productive collaborations. I begin a new job tomorrow as a theatre arts instructor at a public high school. Your blog is on the list of daily required reading. So, as I am set to join another union (my 5th), Happy Labor Day to you, too. (P.S.: Hi, Amy.)

  • Allison Raven says:

    I started to read your blog when I saw a Playbill.com listing for internships at DTE and then proceeded to your website. Actually, I came close to being your new Executive Intern “but that’s another story”(Moustache, Irma la Douce). On this Labor Day, inspired by your entry, I would like to share a little about why I have loved to work for theatre companies for the last eight years (MTC and Primary Stages) even as a very junior staff member. Even as a Development Assistant or front desk and patrons lounge representative, I can share one of my strongest interests with colleagues, artists, and audience members who surprisingly enough are just as enthusiastic. Our biz brings together the lovers of life in a way that most other nonprofit or commercial sectors do not. While the scientists, socialists, theologists, etc. argue over what it means to be human, we dedicate our labor to an art that deeply engages us in the beautiful complexity and simplicity of the human experience. Sometimes I feel we are the closest to understanding the paradox of our existence. Of course I wish I possessed the creativity to be a playwright or actor and maybe some day I will but tis an honor to participate in the business side that ensures that productions have the resources necessary to continue such important work.

  • Robert H-P says:

    Hate to be pedantic, but it’s likely Lincoln never spoke those words, and the quote is apocryphal. He did say something similar, though less caustic to Congress in 1861:
    “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not existed first. Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration.”

    More info here:


  • Get really “organized labor” and you can support my work as well. Author House< Amazon, Kindle or Toll-free 800-839-8640 from the 1913 Paterson Strike until today. I am also an SDC member in NYC.

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