Apparently, if there's any organization to thank for yesterday afternoon's announcement that The League of American Theatres and Producers will finally go back to the bargaining table with Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.), it's Disney.
The House of Mouse holds a 99-year lease on Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre, which as the current home to Mary Poppins remains one of the eight houses still open for business during the stagehands strike. But with The Lion King and The Little Mermaid languishing unperformed at the Minskoff and Lunt-Fontanne Theaters, respectively, Disney is losing a lot of money. Missing just four performances last week, Disney's gross on The Lion King alone was down more than one half million dollars.
Compounding the strike issues, Disney had just begun previews for its fragile Little Mermaid production, while scuttling its long-planned November 11 gala performance to celebrate The Lion King's 10th anniversary on Broadway, widely credited with helping revitalize Times Square and 42nd Street.
According to New York Post's Michael Riedel and Kaili McDonnough, Disney's worried about the other shoe to drop -- the all-important touring productions that could be potentially struck.
Riedel and McDonnough write:
The entertainment giant is dispatching its top labor lawyers to the table for the talks, which are scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m. The meeting will be the first between the union and theater producers since the work stoppage went into affect over the weekend.Say what you want about Disney, but if they can truly help broker a deal, I say, give The Little Mermaid a critical pass.
The stagehands consider Disney a good employer and believe it would be a neutral mediator in their battle, the sources said.
"We trust and respect Disney," a union source said.
Meanwhile, the producers also welcome Disney's involvement and think the company to bridge the wide gap between them and the stagehands.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Finally, Back To The Table (November 14, 2007)
Will The Strike Go On Tour? (November 12, 2007)
Labels: Broadway, Disney, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, League of American Theatres and Producers, Local One, Lockout, Refunds, Stagehands, Strike, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid