Sunday, November 11, 2007

Strike: Day Two

Strike: Day Two

Reality is setting in with scores of audiences who traveled to New York only to find their Broadway shows cancelled due to the stagehands' strike.

Yesterday, Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.) took the action for the first time in its 121 year history against The League of American Theatres and Producers. Hat tip to Esther at Gratuitous Violins for offering a solid round-up of the audience reaction.

The only Broadway shows not impacted by the strike are:
Cymbeline at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre (Lincoln Center, review not posted)
Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theatre (click here for The SOB Review)
Mauritius at the Biltmore Theatre (click here for The SOB Review)
Pygmalion at the American Airlines TheatreStudio 54 (click here for The SOB Review)
The Ritz at Studio 54 (click here for The SOB Review)
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Circle In The Square Theatre (Click here for The SOB Review of the Chicago production)
Xanadu at the Helen Hayes Theatre (click here for The SOB Review)
Young Frankenstein at the Hilton Theatre (click here for The SOB Preview from Seattle)

Also, don't forget that there's a wide selection of Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway shows you may wish to consider.

Yesterday, The League announced ticket refund procedures, and it's enough to leave me nothing less than outraged.

You see, you are due a full refund back on the face value of your tickets, but if you purchased your tickets through Ticketmaster, you will not receive a refund for the company's $3.10 per ticket "processing fee" or ticketFast, which enables you to download your ticket so you can print it out. The other major ticket company for Broadway -- Telecharge -- will offer a full refund, including on all fees.

If you've purchased tickets through Ticketmaster, do what I have done in the past when a show has been cancelled -- call and politely demand all fees back. If you are told they cannot, politely ask to speak with a supervisor. It's important not to lose your temper! If they refuse, contact your credit card company and set up a dispute with them. There is absolutely no reason why Ticketmaster should withhold any fees when you, as the audience member are not at fault.

For a full rundown on the ticket refund policies, click here.

If you're looking for more on the perspectives of each side in this labor dispute, you may want to check out the blogs from stagehands themselves -- The Humble Nailbanger and OneNYC Stagehand -- as well as the site operated by The League, complete with statements by its Executive Director Charlotte St. Martin.

I'm hoping that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will insert himself into the strike, as he did four and a half years ago when Broadway's musicians took to the picket lines. I've seen estimates on the cost to New York City's businesses in lost revenues ranging from $5 million to $17 million per day.

As I said before, my heart goes out, not only to all the people who have traveled from throughout the world to enjoy Broadway only to have their hopes dashed at considerable expense, but especially to the hardworking men and women who work in all the businesses relying on the traffic from Broadway for their livelihoods. Through no fault of their own, they face the most daunting time of all.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
STRIKE! (November 9, 2007)
A Broadway Stagehands Strike Appears Imminent (November 9, 2007)
Roll Up Your Sleeves And Get To Work! (November 7, 2007)
Now That The Union Has Spoken... (October 22, 2007)
It's Unanimous! (October 20, 2007)
D-Day Indeed (October 21, 2007)
$5 Million Per Day (October 19, 2007)
Nederlanders: On Their Own Again? (October 18, 2007)
The Broadway Theatres Not Impacted By Labor Dispute (October 17, 2007)
Bloomberg Appears Ready To Step Into Fray (October 16, 2007)
If You're Holding Tix For Broadway This Week, You're Safe (October 15, 2007)
Stagehands To Vote On Strike...October 21 (October 12, 2007)
The Shows Must Go On...At Least Over Weekend (October 12, 2007)
Still No Lockout (October 12, 2007)
No Lockout Tonight (October 11, 2007)
Lockout Likely (October 10, 2007)
Is This The One For One? (October 9, 2007)
Stagehands' Union Concedes Key Point (October 5, 2007)
Stagehands Talks To Continue This Afternoon (October 5, 2007)
No Monday Lockout (September 29, 2007)
Before The Holidays Strike? (September 25, 2007)
Thanks, Mel! (July 6, 2007)

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At 11 November, 2007, Blogger Esther said...

Thanks for the hat-tip Steve!

I want to be fair - some people in the articles I quoted from did manage to make other plans. Their day wasn't totally ruined. They went to museums or shopped or saw a show at a theater that was still open. And some still expressed support for the stagehands.

But it's clear from everything I read that there are plenty of visitors to New York who travel long distances to get there (some via long bus rides) and plan their visit around Broadway shows. There are many, many adults and children who will go home disappointed.

At 11 November, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The increadable support for the Stage hand is Great!
Fantasia from the Color Purple Sang a Victory Song in Tribute to the STAGEHANDS.
She also Sang Happy Birthday to A Girl in the Crowd

At 11 November, 2007, Anonymous LinLYNN said...

I understand the pain of theater-goers, especially if coming from out-of-town — but the union also has a side. The stagehands are not wealthy producers, star actors, etc., they have families to support

At 11 November, 2007, Anonymous Williams said...

I absolutely support the union. It is too bad that the producers do not want to share profits with the workers. Would you want a carpenter doing the electrical wiring on your house? Stagehands have specialties. They have to be on hand to do their jobs when needed just as firemen, EMTs, etc.

At 11 November, 2007, Anonymous SOUNDDUDE said...

Facing the second day of a costly strike by Broadway stagehands, theatre managers have accused the workers of making unreasonable demands and being highly paid - at up to $US200,000 ($221,842) per year.

There is So Much MisInformation out there!
LOL I just got another Raise!

The League owes me about 120,000

At 11 November, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The stagehands' union "left the negotiating table and abruptly went on the picket line. They refused to budge on nearly every issue," said Charlotte St Martin, director of the League of American Theatres and Producers.

We Left the table late thursday Night
We did not strike till Saturday 10 am

At 11 November, 2007, Anonymous Charlote said...

"we have the highest regard and respect for our stagehands," Ms St Martin said

At 11 November, 2007, Anonymous OT said...

The Local Restaurants Have been Great.
Supplying Food and Drinks to Stage hands and Supporters
Thank you!

We Love You!

At 12 November, 2007, Blogger E said...

You know what? I don't buy the whole "My daughter's Big Trip to NYC has been ruined by this strike" argument.

Do NONE of these people own a computer or read a newspaper? Did NONE of them check on things before coming to the city to be turned away?

I think the media is playing the whole "disappointed children" thing too heavily.

At 12 November, 2007, Anonymous ladderONE said...

I understand.
The kids dont Know that this is just one disappointment in there Life.
To stagehands this is everything.
Life... Morgage... Family
This is theatre ;
this is there livelihood;
This will be everyday of the rest of there live's

At 12 November, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hit them in the wallet
Maybe they will reduce ticket prices


At 12 November, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

E, I have to disagree with you. Even if someone is traveling to New York to see a show, how are they supposed to know that it's their weekend that gets ruined when buying the tickets? Many people I know who travel to the Big Apple buy their tix months in advance, and don't forget that all sales are final, so even with the strike looming, all they could do is hope and pray that no strike erupted.

Unlike the Writers Guild of America strike, the audience has a vested interest in how this turns out because they have paid big bucks to see these Broadway shows, along with big bucks to fly to New York and big bucks to stay in New York's overpriced hotels.

At 12 November, 2007, Blogger E said...

Steve, I read the above article the other day, which indicates that there are ways to get your tickets refunded. Is this incorrect?

I do concede that it would be a HUGE drag to have the "theater" taken out of your "theater trip to New York."

At 12 November, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

E, You are indeed entitled to a refund. My point is that most people who travel from out of town tend to do so LONG in advance, meaning they purchase the nonrefundable airline ticket and have no recourse if a strike happens to occur when they go to New York. So then they're stuck with the costly hotel room, too.

At 12 November, 2007, Blogger E said...

Sorry, Steve, dear...I'm still not buying it.

If you cancel a plane ticket, you usually can apply the credit later.

Hotel rooms typically have a 24 hour cancellation policy. If one stays in a hotel that doesn't, well...caveat emptor.

Still not buying the press' image of hordes of people showing up on the shores of Manhattan with tickets in hand, only to be turned away by the crowds of mean, wicked producers and the meek little stagehands.

And the union better beef up their position. I mean, NO ONE in America will ever be able to sympathize with their plight when all they hear about are stagehands standing around, doing nothing during load-in...while still getting paid. Cry "Safety" or something!

At 12 November, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

E, While there thankfully are a couple airlines that allow for passengers to apply their nonrefundable tickets to later flights, most have had a longstanding policy of not allowing you to use a non-refundable ticket at any other time other than the date for which it was purchased. Unless they pay for a refundable ticket, which most leisure travelers refuse to buy because of the price, they're stuck.

As for hotel cancellation policies, more and more hotel chains are requiring a non-refundable deposit at the time of booking, particularly in major tourism meccas like New York City.


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