Broadway Stagehands Strike leads audiences to off-broadway fare
NPR reported this morning on the unforeseen consequence of theatregoers attending off-broadway shows in greater numbers now that Broadway stagehands have walked-out.
Even with this surge in attendance at smaller shows (Off-broadway theatres seat 100-499), some estimates of the losses to the theatre and related businesses aproach seventeen million dollars per day.
Issues in the strike relate to Broadway producers' attempts to lower production costs, at a time when Broadway grossed $939 million last season, an all time high, and an increase of 9% from the previous year, according to the League of American Theatres and Producers.
One issue is the number of stagehands required to set up (or load-in) a show in a theater, when scenery, lighting and other elements are installed. This can take several weeks and cost $1 million or more. Producerswant greater flexibility in the number of stagehands they're required to hire for load-ins, and also for the kinds of work a stagehand will do while at the theater during a show's run. The union contends theater owners and producers are demanding a 38% cut in jobs and wages.
Broadway is responsible for about 45,000 jobs, according to the league, including actors,
musicians and other people involved in putting on shows.
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