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Thread: Broadway Questions and Recommendations

  1. #1

    Exclamation Broadway Questions and Recommendations

    Well, I hope I'm not the only one on this forum that is obsessed with musicals and plays. I recently heard about the stagehand strikes in the theater district and was very angry when I heard of the news.

    Have any of you New Yorkers heard any new information on the subject? Anything would be helpful.

    Thanks!
    Ben

    EDIT: I'm sorry if this is the wrong place. If it is, can a mod please move it to the correct place? Thanks!
    Last edited by The Benniest; November 24th, 2007 at 11:35 PM. Reason: add a sentence...

  2. #2
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    The strike is still on and I believe it still affects around 23 shows. Some shows are still running as they had negotiated separate contracts with the union. Off-Broadway is unaffected.

    I'm an avid theatergoer as well, but I fully support this strike. Broadway has posted record profits and yet producers are forever trying to cut back on the production staffs (including musicians.)

    Producers are no longer patrons of the arts as much as corporate pockets for crappy formulaic drivel presented to appeal to those same jerks that visited the city during the RNC.

    If shows like Wicked, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, and Mama Mia closed, the world would be better for it.

    Shows affected by the strike:

    A Bronx Tale
    A Chorus Line
    August: Osage County
    Avenue Q
    Chicago
    The Color Purple
    Curtains
    Cyrano de Bergerac
    The Drowsy Chaperone
    Duran Duran: Red Carpet Massacre
    The Farnsworth Invention
    Grease
    Hairspray
    Is He Dead?
    Jersey Boys
    Legally Blonde
    Les Miserables
    The Lion King
    The Little Mermaid
    Mamma Mia!
    The Phantom of the Opera
    Rent
    Rock ‘n’ Roll
    Spamalot
    Spring Awakening
    The Seafarer
    Wicked

  3. #3

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    Thanks BrooklynRider. I truly do hope that this strike ends before Spring Break because the trip I'm taking during that time period is almost a once in a lifetime chance for me and we are planning on seeing 3 broadway shows, including Wicked. We even have private backstage passes for Wicked and will actually get to walk on the stage.

    I heard from other sources that producers and others are meeting tomorrow sometime to discuss other negotiations. Is this true?

    The Benniest

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    I am sure that you will see your show. Wicked has been one of the most profitable shows of all time, so it should weather the strike without much impact.

    Despite the portrayl of the strike in the news, it has the support of most other theater unions. If producers had their way, a few years ago they would have done away with orchestras in favor of recorded music. Although Broadway is doing a booming box office in recent years, we really have one of the worst crops of producers in Broadway history. A good example of how they operate is the recently closed Beauty & the Beast. When it was at the Palace Theater is was on a grand musical scale with full ensemble of musicians, singers and dancers. It later moved to the Lunt-Fontaine Theater, where Disney proceeded to reduce the ensemble by half, while increasing ticket prices. The acclaimed Broadway musical was reduced to a theme park show and out-of-towners had no idea that the great things they heard about the show had no bearing on what they were seeing.

    Tickets for shows are now at $135 for Young Frankenstein and Billy Elliott. A ticket-paying theater-goer won't see $135 dollar worth of theater in NYC on any night in any theater with this latest crop of producers. It's a total rip-off and the theater needs to go through this kind of action to shake out the crap producers.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider View Post
    It's a total rip-off and the theater needs to go through this kind of action to shake out the crap producers.
    Hope it actually produces this outcome.

  6. #6

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    Ok. Thank you BrooklynRider. I had no idea Beauty and the Beast was canceled and closed in New York. I saw the touring musical in Omaha a few years ago and it was one of the best shows I've ever seen! Why would anyone close that?!

    Can these producers who are stirring the strike and closing awesome shows be fired?! I know it may take a while to hire new producers of the show, but hey, it's better than keeping the current crap that the shows have.

    Thanks!
    The Benniest

  7. #7
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    It's not just the Broaday Producers who have made demands for changes in the contract for the Workers (Stagehands) but also the Broadway Theater Owners -- together the Producers & Owners comprise the League of American Theaters and Producers.

    There is an existing thread on the current situation:

    Broadway Strike to Shut Down All Shows Except for Eight

  8. #8
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Give the creative people what they deserve!!!

    A good example of how they operate is the recently closed Beauty & the Beast. When it was at the Palace Theater is was on a grand musical scale with full ensemble of musicians, singers and dancers. It later moved to the Lunt-Fontaine Theater, where Disney proceeded to reduce the ensemble by half, while increasing ticket prices.
    And so it goes, another great American art form is slaughtered at the altar of soulless capitalist douchebags. They're too greedy to want to share the profits with the gifted people who actually write everything, or the live orchestras that make it special? Artists always get the shaft.
    To start, I wish Walt Disney corporate headquarters would be swallowed by a gigantic sinkhole, producers' houses in the Hamptons wrecked by a biblical hurricane, and the rest of these self-important producers and owners would be the subject of a national shame campaign. I also love the way the corporate media, owned by the same conglomerates that own everything else, frame this issue. OR should I say, NOT frame it.

  9. #9
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Interestingly, a Disney show (Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam) is one of the few Broadway shows still up and running during the strike, as Disney negotiated a separate contract with the Stagehands Union for MP.

    The owner of the New Asterdam Theater is NY City / State, so it is not a part of the League of Amercian Theaters & Producers (the group which compelled the Stagehands to go on strike for the FIRST time in its 121 year history):


    In 1990, after a court battle, the State and City of New York assumed ownership of the New Amsterdam and many other theatres on 42nd Street. Disney Theatrical Productions signed a 99 year lease for the property in 1993.

  10. #10

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    Hmmm. I'm still confused about these contracts that everyone has with each other. Can someone explain it in a simple way?

    Please & Thank You...
    The Benniest

  11. #11
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    In regards to this strike it is quite simnple:

    The Bosses (Producers & Theater Owners = The League) have a Contract with the Workers (Stagehands Union).

    The Contract recently expired. Most work Contracts run for a period of years and then must be renewed, at which time both sides may renegotiate specific points of the Contract. In this case the Bosses wanted to make major changes in the previously established working arrangement (the Contract) which had guided the relationship between the Bosses / Employers and the Workers / Employees for over 100 years.

  12. #12
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    Food for thought ...

    What are playwrights waiting for?

    The issues underlying Broadway's shutdown are rife across the U.S.

    LA TIMES
    By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    November 26, 2007

    The stagehands' strike in New York threw a monkey wrench into Broadway's fall season, darkening all but nine shows and leaving a slew of highly anticipated dramas, including Aaron Sorkin's "The Farnsworth Invention," Tracy Letts' "August: Osage County" and Conor McPherson's "The Seafarer," in a state of fretful limbo.

    Although the strike appeared to be approaching its endgame Sunday, writers would do well to pause to reflect on the tacit concern that has been inadequately addressed on our stages of late -- the roiling, polarizing mess of what has been called the "new gilded age." If conflict is the soul of drama, a writer could hardly ask for more combustible material than the eternal battle for a bigger piece of the pie, which has become harder for ordinary Americans to come by in an age in which globalization, deregulation and a never-ending war have rewarded the money pushers, oil barons and governmental cronies with the biggest slices of all.

    Whichever side you come down on -- the stagehands or the theater owners and producers -- the background issues underlying the Broadway shutdown are rife across America. No, most of us aren't busy negotiating the Byzantine hiring regulations for loading in the set of a new musical. But all of us can relate to the fierce struggle wrought by an economy that has transformed housing and healthcare (forget dentistry altogether) into luxuries, given us job security on a wing and a prayer and forced upon businesses a risk-reward ratio that most professional gamblers would smirkingly walk away from.

    Why aren't more playwrights offering us images of an age that's perhaps best characterized by the fetishization of the Dow Jones industrial average on the nightly newscasts? Where is the new "Six Degrees of Separation," John Guare's acute comedy of materialism, when we could really use a glimpse of the deception going on inside those megamillion-dollar condos that have been cropping up like Starbucks in the last few years?

    What about a new "Caroline, or Change," Tony Kushner's challenging musical memoir of growing up in Louisiana in the early-civil rights '60s, transplanted to post-Katrina New Orleans to help us better understand why, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll, only one in five African Americans feels they're doing better than they were five years ago? How about a sequel to Lorraine Hansberry's classic "A Raisin in the Sun" to fill us in on what happens to the Younger family after the house they fought so valiantly to attain goes into foreclosure with the rest of the homes built on sub-prime quicksand?

    Conventional wisdom tells us that American dramatists haven't been as keen to tackle economic issues as their British counterparts. George Bernard Shaw, the grand theatrical observer of the way money makes the world go round, returned to Broadway this fall in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of "Pygmalion" with Claire Danes and Jefferson Mays. The play that gave rise to "My Fair Lady" might be hazily remembered as a loquaciously witty entertainment, but it's actually a critique of capitalism artfully disguised as a Cinderella romance, sans the usual happy ending.

    Yet the great subject of our national literature has been the American dream, and no novelist or poet has revealed the corrosive effect of a family's empty-handed pursuit of its promise better than Arthur Miller in his masterpiece, "Death of a Salesman." There is a pipeline, in other words, of serious social drama that runs from Elmer Rice, Clifford Odets and Miller to David Rabe, August Wilson and Kushner, straight to Rebecca Gilman and Christopher Shinn -- and boy, do we need the spigot to be open right now.

    Comedy has historically been more adept at reflecting contemporary crises, and America's tradition here is just rich. Whatever you may have thought of Wendy Wasserstein's final play, "Third," seen at the Geffen Playhouse this fall, it was heartening to encounter a protagonist ambling about her darkly humorous plot as nonstop TV coverage of the Iraq war sharply impinges on her daily consciousness.

    Consider this an APB to the ablest of our comic playwrights -- David Mamet, Craig Lucas, Paula Vogel, Richard Greenberg, Lisa Loomer, among countless other talents known and not yet known -- to assist us in recognizing the tectonic shift that's been widening the disparity of wealth in American society and threatening the equilibrium of democracy. Rich or poor, all of us are affected by the new reality, one that makes it hard to feel secure about retirement even if you're lucky enough to live in a house that has tripled (at least on paper anyway) in value.

    Striking TV and film writers, who are trying to protect their economic interests in a rapidly changing new market, would enlighten us enormously by heeding this call as well. But it's addressed primarily to playwrights because the theater throughout its long history has been more welcoming of this kind of expansive analysis than TV and film. And theater critics such as Shaw, George Jean Nathan, Kenneth Tynan, Eric Bentley and Frank Rich have never hesitated to remind artists of their higher mission.

    Broadway, chockablock with tourist trash, hasn't been a particularly hospitable environment for trenchant social vision lately. Blame it on the impossible cost of doing business, which has caused some to hold striking stagehands responsible. No parent should have to shell out 500 bucks to take the family to see a musical. But let's not kid ourselves into thinking that the producers of Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein," one of the nine Broadway shows left running, as Mammon would have it, will lower their premium ticket prices of $450 if they could get cheaper labor.

    Robert Anderson's famous quote about the theater, "You can make a killing, but not a living," has never been truer than it is for the new Broadway, which grossed almost a billion dollars last season.

    That number might sound like a reason to celebrate, until you hear about the extent of the casualties. The shipwreck of "The Pirate Queen," the infamous 2007 Broadway flop, could alone commission several generations of writers with its sunken treasure chest, reportedly valued at close to $18 million.

    The game, in short, is broken on all ends. Still, when the salaries of stagehands, which admittedly seem high compared to those of measly journalists, are tossed around as evidence of union extortion, it's worth considering that few of these skilled workers could afford to live in one of the high-rises recently erected in the now-desirable Times Square-Hell's Kitchen neighborhood where they work.

    More to the point, how much does one have to earn to be considered middle class anymore? In days gone by, that meant being able to afford your own home, send your kids to college and tuck away a sufficient senior nest egg. Today that seems more like a package of expectations that only Wall Street instant millionaires and their seven-figure chums can bank on.

    And if that doesn't stir our playwrights' dramatic juices, then I'm afraid not even the Fed can save us this time.

    Copyright 2007 Los Angeles Times

  13. #13

    Default Broadway Ticket

    I'm visiting NYC next Friday & have ticket for Cyrano. If the strike is still on do I get a refund? BTW, while I know all the Christmasy tourist spots does anyone have a fav place that goes all out for the holidays? Store, restaurant, any place

  14. #14

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    The broadway strikes are done! Woot!! I was extremely excited at school today when a friend approached me with the good news.

    There are quite a few articles on it online and in the paper today.
    Google News

  15. #15

    Post Any "theatrical" suggestions?

    Hi everyone!

    I'm new in the forum, and first of all I'd like to congratulate you all!

    I'm visiting the city with my wife (we are 3Oers), on January 2008 for the first time, (for 10 days), and we'd like to see some broadway show, but we don't know which one to choose. Does anyone have any suggestions? Do you think I should make a ticket reservation earlier, or
    are we going to find tickets when we come?
    Is there another post on this subject?

    Thanks in advance!

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