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NYC stagehands going on strike Saturday, likely to darken Broadway

NYC stagehands going on strike Saturday, likely to darken Broadway

Stagehands will go on strike Saturday, a move expected to darken most of the plays and musicals on Broadway, according to a person close to contract negotiations.
The strike was to begin at 11 a.m. (1600 GMT), shuttering an early matinee of "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical," said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity Friday night because the person was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Both the union, Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, and the League of American Theatres and Producers held two days of unproductive meetings Wednesday and Thursday, reportedly contentious negotiations.
Most Broadway theaters were expected to go dark except for such nonprofits as the Roundabout Theatre Company, and several non-League theaters housing such shows as "Young Frankenstein," "Mary Poppins" and "Xanadu."
Lisa Linden, a spokeswoman for the League, said, "We have not heard from Local One regarding a strike and it would be shocking if they would hurt the theatergoing public by shutting down Broadway without notice."
A union spokesman declined to comment.
The strike would not affect all Broadway shows.
Productions playing in theaters operated by nonprofit organizations will still be running. They are the Roundabout Theatre Company's "Pygmalion" and "The Ritz"; Manhattan Theatre Club's "Mauritius," and Lincoln Center Theater's revival of "Cymbeline."
Also not affected are commercial theaters which have separate agreements with the union. Their shows include "Young Frankenstein," "Mary Poppins," "Xanadu" and "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."
Off-Broadway shows would not be affected either.
November is a crucial month for Broadway, leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, the most profitable time of the year for shows.
In addition, this month will see the opening of several plays, including Aaron Sorkin's "The Farnsworth Invention" and "August: Osage County," a critically acclaimed play from Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
The talks earlier this week were observed by Thomas C. Short, international president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Local One needed permission from Short to strike and on Thursday, its president, James J. Claffey Jr., got it.
The union has been without a contract since the end of July. The two sides have been wrangling over work rules and staffing requirements, particularly during the expensive process of loading a show into a theater.
Both parties have been preparing for a showdown, stockpiling strike funds.
In March 2003, more than a dozen Broadway shows went dark after Local 802 of the musicians union went on a four-day strike, costing the city millions in lost revenue. Earlier this year, the musicians agreed to a new three-year contract.
The 3,000-member union, which has between 350 and 500 members working on Broadway at any given time, contends it could find employment for many of its people in television or film if a work stoppage occurs.


Updated : 2021-10-16 04:01 GMT+08:00