Seeing as it took them a week just to get to the bargaining table, did anyone think they’d have everything solved in two days? After a weekend of apparently tense negotiations at the Westin Times Square, the League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One?s stagehands were, in fact, unable to reach an agreement, meaning that the Broadway strike — which began Nov. 10 — is on for another week.
Even the most cynical prognosticators had been predicting a resolution in time for stuffing and cranberry sauce. But hours of talks on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 17-18) seemingly failed to get the parties past the biggest sticking point, which reportedly centers on ”load-in” — i.e. the number of stagehands required to physically load a show into a Broadway house. Both sides walked out on the talks, and the League canceled all performances through Sunday, Nov. 25.
NYC-bound tourists aren?t completely out of luck. Eight shows (Young Frankenstein, Mary Poppins, The Ritz, Pygmalion, Cymbeline, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Xanadu, and Mauritius) are still running, owing to separate contracts with stagehands. But the outlook for some in-the-wings plays is looking worse and worse. The longer the strike goes on, the less likely that The Seafarer — a buzzed-about U.K. import — will ever open on Broadway. Another play stopped in its tracks while still in previews: the Tracy Letts (Bug)-penned August: Osage County, a much-anticipated drama from Chicago?s Steppenwolf Theater. Putting a straight play on Broadway, notes producer Daryl Roth, ”is challenging even in the best of times.” (Roth has three shows shuttered due to the strike: August, the Mark Twain play Is He Dead?, and last season?s Tony-winning musical Curtains) ”We?re just praying that maybe things will come to a happy ending,” says Roth. Gotta love an optimist.