Producer Discusses Broadway Strike

Tuesday, November 13th 2007, 10:05 pm
By: News On 6

The bright lights of Broadway were still dark Tuesday night, as stagehands continued to march the picket lines. Those stagehands walked off the job and shut down one of New York's biggest attractions. Theater owners estimate New York is losing $17 million in business a day. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports the strike on Broadway has some wondering if it could mean curtains for shows touring across the country and here in Tulsa.

The strike that has shut down Broadway includes stagehands, electricians, carpenters, and sound people. All are critical. It has closed more than two dozen Broadway theaters. Producer Larry Payton with Celebrity Attractions in Tulsa hates to see it.

"The main thing here for us is relationships. We need to, I think, the local 1 and the league needs to come back to the table and talk about the problems,” said Larry Payton of Celebrity Attractions.

The problems revolve around disagreements over how many stagehands are required to open a show and keep it running. The Union wants to maintain rules requiring a set number of hands, no matter how elaborate the production. Theater owners and producers want to be able to hire only the number needed for an individual show.

"When you've got people sitting around getting paid to do absolutely nothing, it's pretty tough,” said Celebrity Attractions president, Larry Payton.

Payton says the industry is concerned over what could happen next, and whether the strike will spread to productions nationwide.

"We're all talking about what ifs? Probably more the major cities that have the blockbuster shows," added Celebrity’s Larry Payton.

In Tulsa, that next big blockbuster is “Phantom of the Opera.” It opens next summer. Payton says the strike shouldn't impact Tulsa because contracts are already in place with local stagehands.

"However, one never knows what the local union, the Number 1 Union in New York City might say to other unions around the country,” said Larry Payton with Celebrity Attractions.

For now, all shows on Broadway are canceled through Wednesday. Payton hopes the matter can resolved quickly, and that the lights will be shining bright again soon on Broadway.

Payton will meet tomorrow with about 50 other members of the League of American Theatres and Producers in Chicago. They'll discuss the strike and its potential impact on other shows nationwide.

Watch the video: Local Concerns About A Strike On Broadway