Actors' Equity Association (AEA) and the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) have reached an agreement resolving jurisdictional issues that have recently divided the two unions.

The agreement provides for shared jurisdiction over a newly created category of performances: "crossover productions" that contain elements of the jurisdiction of both unions, such as the Broadway shows Movin' Out and La Bohème. As part of the agreement, each union has pledged not to intrude on the other's exclusive jurisdictions under the Broadway Production Contract or AGMA's contracts with opera companies. Theodore Bikel, president of the 4A's -- the AFL-CIO entity that oversees unions representing live performers in the U.S. -- will have sole authority to determine crossover jurisdiction.

The agreement recognizes AEA's expertise in establishing standards for Broadway productions and AGMA's for negotiating opera and ballet contracts. The Broadway and National Touring companies of Movin' Out will operate under contracts principally negotiated and administered with AEA provisions, with AGMA participation and shared credit in Playbills and programs.

The agreement will expire on December 31, 2005, to allow both unions time to explore the possibilities of a merger or other consolidation. AEA executive director Alan Eisenberg and AGMA executive director Alan S. Gordon agreed that such a merger would create an exponentially more powerful performer's union. They said in a joint statement, "This Agreement establishes a framework within which the unions representing live performers can move towards an in-depth exploration of a merger or other consolidation while assuring that both unions, separately and together, can devote their energies toward negotiating the best possible collective bargaining agreements for their respective members."