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Broadway goes dark

Broadway goes dark — ”Rent,” ”A Chorus Line,” and 25 other shows shut their doors as the stagehands strike

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Got tickets to A Chorus Line? How about A Picket Line? On Nov. 10, Broadway’s stagehands walked off the job, shutting down 27 plays and musicals after months of contract negotiations between the workers’ union and the League of American Theatres and Producers proved futile. Eight productions (Young Frankenstein, Mary Poppins, Mauritius, The Ritz, Pygmalion, Cymbeline, Xanadu, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) are still running owing to separate contracts with stagehands. But the strike, which (in)conveniently affects the industry’s holiday profits, could devastate shows both new and old: Irish drama The Seafarer might never see its opening night, and after 11 years Rent is rumored to be on its last legs.

Every day the theaters are dark, New York City is out an estimated $17 million. But the biggest losers are the fans: A visiting family of four who ponied up $1,200 in airfare, $350 a night at a hotel, and $500 for orchestra seats can’t just flip the channel like TV viewers weathering the WGA strike. ”We’re hoping for a settlement sooner rather than later,” says Daryl Roth, producer of the now-idling Curtains, Is He Dead?, and August: Osage County. ”New York is Broadway, and Broadway is New York. It’s devastating.”