Thursday, November 29, 2007


When the money runs out, so do we.

It would appear that the League took the old stagehand joke seriously. They burned through their $20 million in 2 1/2 weeks and promptly folded. And the deal went down along the lines that the Union had said, a fair exchange for work rules but no concessions.

Was a strike necessary? Evidently in the minds of certain Producers who seem to reflect the contemptuous attitude towards working people found among some bartenders, yes it was. There was going to be blood in the streets, one proclaimed.Literally, no. There were 500 people a day walking the picket lines in front of 27 venues for 10 hours a day for 19 days and, to my knowledge,not a single summons. But there was a tremendous display of solidarity from local unions inside and outside of the theatre community as well as support throughout the US, Canada and Europe.

If there was blood on the street, it flowed out from under the closed Box Office doors as productions hemorrhaged from lost ticket sales. If there was blood on the streets it was from restaurants, vendors, delis, hotels, cabs, novelty stores and other small business men and women who lost sales in order for some to gain more flexibility.

As business men and women who have an intimate knowledge of profit and loss statements (sometimes filed under fiction),the primary question will be when will they recoup what they've spent? I don't know the details of the changes in the contract or the potential impact on future productions but from what I understand, it will take a long, long time. Was it worth the disruption to the city? Was it worth the damage to the brand name that is "Broadway" that those of us who actually work in the theatre have struggled for years to attain and maintain?

It late, I'm bone tired and I have a show tomorrow. I don't have any answers to these questions nor is it even my place to try to answer them. There will be experts and pundits who will throughly discuss this in great detail and analysis right up until the start of the next news cycle.

Me, I'm just a stagehand who spends most of his time in the dark. And I'm going back to work.

1 comment:

The Lone Beader said...

I am glad to hear you're headed back to work. Finally...