The Playgoer: Strike!

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Friday, July 06, 2007


Riedel bears the gloomy news for B'way that a stagehand strike may be imminent in the Fall, if negotiations between them and the producers continue as tough as they've been.

Interesting sidebar along the way:

[O]nly one in five shows recoups its production cost.

"Twenty-five years ago, one in four shows recouped, so we've gone backwards," says a veteran producer. "That's not a very bright picture. That's not a very healthy industry to be in.

(Unmoved, a unsympathetic stagehand rep says, "one in five doesn't sound too bad. It's a lot better than the restaurant business.")

One of the hot-button issues is the fees demanded for "load-ins" of shows into Broadway houses. Riedel says the big musicals can cost as much as $1.5 mil--just to move into the theatre!

So don't a couple of "Pirate Queen" size load-ins amount to a small indie film budget?

And I wonder if one-in-five are good odds by Hollywood standards.

Why does anyone produce Broadway shows anymore at all?

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