Off-stage Drama

Did the Alley's Gregory Boyd allow love to get in the way of work?

It's possible, of course, that Weathersby did make up the story she told the Press. And though two of Weathersby's associates, one of whom contacted the Press independently, said that they'd heard the same story from Weathersby as did the Press, it's also possible that she lied to them.

What's hard to determine is why Weathersby would have fabricated such a tale. The world of professional theater is small, and the even smaller community of theater in Houston is ripe for gossip. It's difficult to imagine that Weathersby thought her story would remain confidential once she told it to even a single person. It's also difficult to imagine how a false story about someone as powerful as Gregory Boyd would benefit Weathersby. What's easier to imagine are the problems that confronting Boyd could bring.

None of which, of course, means that what she said originally was true, or that her later denial was false. But in her initial meeting with the Press, Weathersby said that when she caught wind of a rumor that another actress had been cast in the role of Jane, "I was absolutely stunned. It was my part. He had been talking about my doing that part for months." In late July, Weathersby said, she sent a letter to the Alley informing Boyd that she intended to show up for In the Jungle of Cities rehearsals. Not long afterward, Weathersby said, she received a polite call from a lawyer at Vinson & Elkins who wondered if there wasn't something they could do about the misunderstanding over casting.

At that point, Weathersby said, she got her own lawyer, and ultimately the Alley made a settlement offer that was twice what her wages would have been for actually performing in the play. Though she doesn't hold her Equity card yet, Weathersby said Boyd had offered her union wages for playing the role of Jane. According to Kenneth Klem in Actor's Equity's New York offices, paying a non-union actor union wages is unusual; he also said that according to their Equity rating, the Alley is required to pay union actors a minimum of $563 per week. Based on the play's scheduled three-week run, that means Weathersby's settlement would have been at least $3,378. Klem added that a verbal commitment from a director about a role "is worth the paper it isn't written on," and noted that even if Weathersby had been an Equity actor, the union wouldn't have argued on her behalf without a written contract.

Prior to denying that anything untoward had happened, Weathersby said she knew she probably wouldn't work at the Alley again, and that her future in theater didn't include, by choice, a career as an actor. She also said that the one thing she had hoped for, but doubted she would get, was an apology from Boyd.

As for Boyd, he's well into rehearsals for In the Jungle of Cities, with New York actress Sherri Parker Lee performing the role of Jane. Weathersby isn't sharing her future plans with the Press. And as for the truth of what happened between them -- well, as is the case with good drama, the truth lies in the heart of the players.

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