By Andrew Gans
14 Nov 2007
The League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One, the stagehands union, will return to the negotiating table this coming weekend.
A statement from the League and Local One issued Nov. 14 reads: "Talks have been scheduled between Local One and The League of American Theaters and Producers beginning this weekend, at an undisclosed place and time. No interviews or comment from either organization will be issued until further notice."
The union, whose contract with the League ended July 31, has been on strike since Nov. 10. That strike has darkened 27 Broadway theatres. Only eight productions — Xanadu, The Ritz, Mauritius, Mary Poppins, Cymbeline, Pygmalion, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Young Frankenstein — have been up and running since that time. These shows are either presented by Broadway's nonprofit sector or are housed in theatres whose contracts with Local One are separate.
For months, producers and the union had been hashing out issues of work assignments, setting of a production's run crew, load-in costs and labor minimums. Those talks were ultimately unfruitful, and on Nov. 10 the union began its strike.
The first show affected by the strike was the 11 AM performance of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
As evidence of a slowdown in theatre-district restaurant business trickles in, the economic impact on the shows themselves has been swift: according to the grosses released Nov. 13 by the League, both Jersey Boys and Wicked, which usually lead the pack, were down nearly half-a-million dollars apiece without their lucrative weekend performances. For the Nov. 5-11 week, Jersey Boys and Wicked took in, respectively, $732,840 and $852,843; the previous week those shows grossed $1,217,333 and $1,335,757. The picture was grimmer for shows already struggling before the work stoppage.