After a work stoppage that left more than two dozen shows dark for 19 days, the League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One, the stagehands’ union, have finally reached a settlement. The news came at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 28), after three straight days of marathon negotiations. (Insiders said they heard a deal was reached earlier in the evening but that the official announcement was held until just before the 11 p.m. TV newscasts.)
All shows are scheduled to resume performances Thursday night, some at a discounted price — Chicago, for example, is selling all tickets for just $26.50 this evening. The discounts are likely aimed at getting people back into the theaters immediately to start making up for lost revenue. Last year, Broadway made a reported $42 million in the two Thanksgiving weeks; this year, $7.2 million.
In their contract negotiations, Local One and the League had been haggling over everything from the number of workers required to load in a show to how much a guy wielding a mop should make. What the two parties settled on — a five-year deal, the details of which have not been revealed to the press — is still subject to a vote by Local One members. However, the union’s official website states that ”the Local One negotiating committee is firmly behind the ratification of the contract.” For its part, the League also seems content, as president Charlotte St. Martin called the deal ”a good compromise.”
Meanwhile, shows that had been in holding patterns are now searching for new opening dates: The intimate U.K. import The Seafarer, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, the buzzed-about Chicago production August: Osage County, and Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention are all expected to officially open in the next two weeks.