Musicians gift Garden with 4-year contract

Agreement includes 60-show guarantee, same wages as "Christmas Extravaganza"

Scrooge is taking no off-stage detours this holiday season. The Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802, has agreed to a four-year contract with Madison Square Garden, home to “A Christmas Carol,” now in its seventh season.

Terms of the contract limit the orchestra to 24 pieces, with a 60-show guarantee and the same wages as the “Radio City Music Hall Christmas Extravaganza,” which is $1,397.25 a week for 12 performances. These terms would apply to future Broadway-style shows that MSG develops; however, any new 90-minute revues may be performed without orchestra. “A Christmas Carol,” which clocks in at 90 minutes, is excluded from the revue category in the new contract.

A year ago, the musicians union threatened a strike against Radio City Music Hall, nearly derailing their “Christmas Extravaganza,” and called one against the New York City Ballet. The dance company had to make do with tapes of the Tchaikovsky score for a number of its annual “Nutcracker” perfs.

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