Fri, Nov 30, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Broadway strike ends as producers find a compromise

AFP , NEW YORK

Broadway producers reached a deal with striking stagehands late on Wednesday, ending more than two weeks of a work stoppage that has brought the curtain down across New York's theater district.

Theater producers said that performances would resume last night, the finale of a damaging strike that began on Nov. 10 and has cost the city millions of dollars in lost revenues.

"The contract is a good compromise that serves our industry. What is most important is that Broadway's lights will once again shine brightly," Charlotte St. Martin, head of the League of American Theatres and Producers, said in a statement.

"The people of Broadway are looking forward to returning to work, giving the theater-going public the joy of Broadway, the greatest entertainment in the world," said James Claffey, president of stagehands' union Local One.

The strike had turned the lights out at some 27 Broadway theaters and left disappointed ticket holders arriving at theaters to find doors closed and picket lines set up outside.

Only one show resumed during the strike, when a judge ordered the theater showing Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas to reopen because only the theater's landlord and not the show's producers were involved in the dispute.

Producers complained they were forced to hire an unnecessarily large number of stagehands, often to perform minor duties, while the unions accused the theaters of trying to make cutbacks.

An earlier round of negotiations over the weekend of Nov. 17 broke down when stagehands rejected compromise proposals put forward by producers.

The two sides met again on Sunday, with talks running through the night into Monday and again on Tuesday.

It was the third stoppage on Broadway in 30 years. The last, a strike by musicians in 2003, lasted four days at an estimated cost to theater producers and other businesses of several million dollars.

This year's strike was thought to have been especially damaging since it closed down some of Broadway's most profitable shows over the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

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