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Broadway Strike
Talks Resume Wednesday

Broadway Strike
Talks Resume Wednesday

Striking Broadway stagehands and theater producers will try again Wednesday to work out a deal to end their protracted labor dispute that has darkened theaters for more than two weeks.

Striking Broadway stagehands and theater producers will try again Wednesday to work out a deal to end their protracted labor dispute that has darkened theaters for more than two weeks.

The two sides will meet at 10 a.m., Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the League of American Theatres and Producers, said Tuesday.

Local 1, the stagehands union, and the league have been through two marathon negotiating sessions in the last two days, the most recent ending Tuesday morning after an all-night meeting.

A long Sunday meeting between Local 1 and the league spilled into the early morning hours of Monday. Both sides resumed talks Monday evening and continued until past dawn, fueled by salad and bottled water deliveries.

Renewed efforts to end the work stoppage came at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday week, usually one of the best times of the year for Broadway. Not so this year, with most of Broadway, including such big hits as Wicked, Jersey Boys, The Lion King, Mamma Mia! and The Phantom of the Opera, shut down since the stagehands walked out November 10.

Both Local 1 and the league have been under pressure to find a solution as box-office losses climb and other unions that work on Broadway, such as Actors' Equity Association, began to feel the effects of no paychecks.

Theater-related businesses have been hurt too. City comptroller William Thompson has estimated the economic impact of the strike at $2 million a day, based on survey data that includes theatergoers' total spending on tickets, dining, and shopping.

The dispute has focused on how many stagehands are required to open a Broadway show and keep it running. That means moving scenery, lights, sound systems, and props into the theater; installing the set and making sure it works; and keeping everything functioning well for the life of the production.

Eight shows remain open including Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! at the St. James Theatre. The limited-run musical originally had been shut by the strike but was reopened last week by court order.

Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns the St. James, announced initially that it would appeal the court decision. But on Monday, Jujamcyn agreed not to seek an immediate appeal, meaning the $6 million production can continue uninterrupted for the rest of its holiday run. The engagement ends January 6. (AP)

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