Broadway is on strike (UPDATE: The curtain rises again)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael Reuben, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Patrons showing up for Broadway musicals last night (Friday, March 7) went home disappointed, as the actors unexpectedly joined striking musicians in shutting down nearly every musical on Broadway. The producers had hoped to continue presenting shows using recorded music, but once the actors added their support, the curtain came down. All remaining shows this weekend were quickly canceled.

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/03/0....ap/index.html

    At issue is a fairly obscure (at least to most of the world) contract provision requiring a minimum number of musicians to perform live for a Broadway show. The deadline officially ran out last Sunday but was extended so talks could continue. Obviously, no progress was made.

    I happened to be in Times Square this afternoon, and the picket lines are out and active. Not exactly a substitute for a major Broadway musical, but it's still an entertainment of sorts. [​IMG]

    Dramas and off-Broadway are unaffected, at least so far.

    The timing is a real problem for Broadway producers, because they've just entered the season of heavy advance selling for major upcoming openings like Nine, Gypsy and Urban Cowboy. This could get ugly.

    M.
     
  2. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    I think I hear PatrickL's head exploding. [​IMG]
     
  3. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    i'm a member of actor's equity and i haven't worked professionally in almost 11 months...but at least these people had jobs until Fri night.
    hope it resolves itself soon,
    for my friends' sake and the ny economy.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Glad Actor's Equity honored the picket lines. Had I paid big bucks to see a show and gotten stuck listening to canned music, I would have been pissed off.
     
  5. andrew markworthy

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    The story has been covered fairly thoroughly in the UK for some reason (why? - it's not like the average Brit spends their weekends in NY watching Broadway musicals).

    The issue as it's been presented to us Brits is that the management wants to reduce the stage orchestras in size by about a third. The musicians are obviously annoyed about this, and argue that it's the thin end of the wedge - if this is allowed then it will pave the way for canned music.
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  7. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  9. andrew markworthy

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    I'm not sure that there are any parallels with the Brit situation. Although the UK was notorious for union problems in the past, things have quietened down in the last decade or so. The only big issue we have union-wise at the moment is with firefighters, who are demanding a *huge* pay rise. However, there is no obvious link between firefighters and orchestral players.

    I don't think we have a 'fixed number of musicians' rule for London theatres.

    Even allowing for Michael's sensible comments, I'm still baffled by the prominence given to the story, even given the fact that we Brits do get a lot of American news items. I don't want to drag this thread into a political realm, but there are a lot of big political news stories at the moment, and I'm surprised the Brit media got sidetracked.
     
  10. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    The strike was settled this morning (3/11/03) after the mayor stepped in by appointing a mediator and the two sides negotiated through the night on Monday. Details are sketchy, but it appears that the 10-year agreement will still guarantee that a minimum number of musicians will be hired for most shows, but the number is lower than under the previous contract.

    Performances resume this evening.

    M.
     

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