In 1984, American Express embarked on a project to make sure that all the theatres in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Texas, and yes, Los Angeles, were accepting their card for ticket sales. This was no small task as AMEX charged the theatres more for their ticket sales than VISA. Their campaign was based on the promise of enhanced marketing of productions to their cardholders and culminated in double-spread ads In Variety of the producers in each city/state who were on board. It worked, and the photo with key below is of some of those running theatres in LA in 1984.

Six out of the 21 producers in LA were women; 3 out of 11 in Texas, 5 out of 12 in Washington, D.C., 17 out of 48 in Chicago and the fewest women proportionally, 7 out of 44 in NYC. I had the whole issue of Variety in the files and as I scan the spreads, there appear to be only three people of color out of the combined 136 pictured nationally. None in Los Angeles. A snapshot in time, and not that long ago.

–Laura Zucker