As the busiest season of the year approaches, Broadway is turning off its lights, and no, it’s not so we don’t have to watch “Young Frankenstein,” the scarily unfunny new comedy from Mel Brooks (at least according to Ben Brantley). Last night, the stagehands’ union received the go-ahead from its parent union to begin striking, forcing Broadway to go dark as early as tonight.
The union ended 11th-hour talks on Thursday evening with the League of American Theaters and Producers, which they’ve been in negotiations with the last several weeks. The League was asking for more flexibility in the number of stagehands hired per show, but the union wouldn’t budge, not wanting to risk the job security of its members.
Not all shows will be affected. Namely, the aforementioned “Young Frankenstein” will continue to run. But for an industry that relies on the holiday season to generate a significant share of its revenues, the strike could not come at a worse time. Unless the situation improves quickly, it could be a very un-merry Christmas for producers and theatergoers.