Broadway's on strike!


I have tickets for Mamma Mia! and Hairspray in mid-April. Makes me wish I believed in God so I could start praying for a settlement. The actors and stagehands are supporting the strike and refusing to cross the picket lines. On some level I’m glad to know the shows, if the strike continues into April, will be closed because I wasn’t any too keen to be crossing picket lines either. I’d come close to deciding to cross but then make a hefty donation to the strike fund to, well, to offset my guilt at crossing a picket line. I’ll still be in NYC over that weekend and I’m sure I can find something to do but bloody hell, I want to see the shows!

Any Dopers miss out on shows yet because of the strike? Any NYC Dopers have any sense of how far apart the sides actually are and the likelihood of a settlement?

Funny how everyone made a point to see Broadway shows after 9/11 to show support for the NYC economy. How soon they forget.

How soon who forgets what?

I don’t think you need to worry about April tickets. The producers of B’way are losing about $1.5 million a day.

That being said, I think the magician’s union is being ridiculous. A 24 piece orchestra for “Urinetown”, which has so few principals and cast, is just silly.

Maybe it sounds ridiculous to you, NWR, but the “magician’s union” has to draw the line somewhere. If you say there are no minimums on one show, who’s to decide about all the other shows? You can’t base it on the number of actors in the show… I’ve seen one-man shows backed with a full orchestra.

**Otto, ** I think you’ll probably be okay by April, but I don’t think this will be wrapped up for at least another week, maybe two. The bottom line is, like in any other argument, both sides are going to have to give in a little.

Can someone please give me the justification for any requirement for a minimum number of instruments for a performance, other than as a naked ploy to create unnecessary work for musicians?

It seems to me that if I’m a producer putting on a show, I ought to be able to decide how many musicians I need and only hire that many. If the music in my production isn’t up to snuff because I used too small an orchestra, then box office sales will suffer accordingly; I can then increase the size of the orchestra or watch my production meet an early demise. Why can’t the market handle this question?

Of course I meant musician’s union. My bad.

I just think that the number of orchestra musicians should be an artistic decision.

Do we cheat them and how, based on what you wrote, I’m assuming that you didn’t read the story, so I’ve posted a part of it here. Notice that the range of muscians to use is 3 to 26 depending on the size of the theatre, I don’t know if that qualifies as a ploy to create unnecessary work for musicians. Also notice that a producer can select how many musicians to use based on the size of the house and thier needs.

From the above link:

Damn. I had my “Scaberet” joke all prepared and all.

I think it sucks. Especially since I’m going to New York in 4 days. I know my show will be cancelled unless they do some fast negotiations (and it doesn’t like like that’s happening.)

Grace, what are/were you going to see?

  1. Is it too much to ask that you use my actual username? Yes, you caught the joke, you clever boy you. I get the vague feeling that by spelling it out, you’re trying to be insulting.

  2. Not only did I read the story, I live in New York, so I can’t flip by a local news program without hearing about this story.

  3. It is still a naked ploy (or at least I haven’t heard an alternative explanation). Say I have a theatre of a size that, under the union contract, calls for 15 musicians. Say further that I think my particular production will be just fine in this theatre with only 12 musicians. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to do so? Won’t the market punish me if the number of musicians isn’t enough to fill the theatre with sound?

  4. Furthermore, why shouldn’t I be allowed to use recorded music or synthesized music? Yeah, yeah, I know, “Broadway is all about doing things live” – but surely Broadway patrons are the more appropriate arbiters of that maxim. If they are bent on seeing live music, then productions that do not use live music will suffer.

It seems to me that the only answer the union can give to questions #3 and #4 are “because the current rule creates unnecessary work for musicians.” In which case, I have a great deal of difficulty in sympathizing with their position.

Otto, Grace,

You do know that there are other Broadway plays running? This affects only the musicals. Granted, that’s roughly 2/3 of the shows right now.

I’d guess it will be over by April,(last strike was 3 weeks), but…

Mamma Mia! These 42nd Street Producers are really making this Urinetown even more Miserables. We Thorougly Modern Urban Cowboys need some entertainment as a respite for buying things like Hairspray and paying the Rent. If these Phantoms of the Opera don’t come to a solution regarding Flower Drum Songs soon, I’m Movin’ Out to Chicago.

I do know, but I already have my tickets and I want to see these shows. I’ve been planning this trip since December and the tribulations of getting freaking ROW 5 ORCHESTRA seats for two sold-out shows has only made my anticipation grow. I can get a refund on the face value of the tickets but not for the broker fees. Plus this is probably going to be my only big vacation this year and it’s also going to be my friend’s only big vacation this year. And did I mention that I’m going for my birthday?

The BF and I have tickets for The Lion King in April, so this strike had better be settled by then.

What day in April? Are you still going to NYC if the strike isn’t settled? Could we end up in the same city on the same day, perhaps passing each other on the street and never knowing?

April 10-11. If the strike isn’t settled, I don’t know what we’re going to do–reschedule, I suppose.

I’ll be there the following weekend. According to Yahoo! news, there are no talks scheduled. The union’s saying “it’s kind of hard to negotiate when the producers have put down their ‘final’ offer” and the producers are saying “we’re right here by the phone waiting for them to call to negotiate.” The producers are up to agreeing to a minimum of 15 musicians and the union is holding to 24. People, can we just short-cut this and meet in the middle? 20 is a nice round number.

This is being address here. Come on down!