Without union deal, ‘Music Man’ to close

Only six B'way shows granted concessions

Seven is not a lucky number for the producers of “The Music Man” who have posted a Sept. 30 closing notice.

“If they can’t receive the same concessions as the six other Broadway musicals, ‘The Music Man’ will have to close this Sunday,” said Adrian Bryan-Brown, a spokesman for the show, which is produced by the Dodgers among others.

The current Broadway revival of the Meredith Willson musical opened on April 27, 2000.

Last week, the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees accepted 25% pay cuts for its members working on “Chicago,” “The Full Monty,” “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Les Miserables,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Rent.” A day later, Actors’ Equity, the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 and the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers followed suit.

The concessions, however, stopped there. When other Broadway shows, “The Music Man” included, asked for similar labor concessions this week, meetings between labor and producers broke down Monday. IATSE has made no formal announcement, but the alliance will reportedly not consider petitions for any concessions to other shows for at least four weeks.

At a press conference last Thursday, “Rent” producer Kevin McCollum outlined the criteria that grouped together such concession-granted shows as “The Full Monty” and “Chicago.”

“We are all long-running shows that have a brand name that relies heavily on tourists,” said McCollum.

“The Music Man” would thus appear to fit the current criteria for an endangered show. In fact, the tuner has run about six months longer than “Monty,” and its total receipts of $244,943 fell below those of “Chicago,” “Monty” and “Phantom.”

At the same press conference, Alan Eisenberg of Actors’ Equity denied that the Dodgers were in a poor negotiating position with the unions after having licensed a non-Equity tour of “The Music Man,” which began performances this summer. “We’re not going to put actors out of work because we’ve (had differences) with a producer,” said the union’s executive director.

Equity, Local 802, SSD&C and the Dramatists Guild have not released decisions on possible concessions to other shows asking for pay cuts.

The producers of “The Music Man” came only recently to the bargaining table. When it was first announced that the unions and guilds had struck deals with certain Broadway shows last week, Dodgers spokesman Bryan-Brown said, “The Dodgers believed that the league was approaching labor as a group effort.”

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