Broadway fears mount

No talks scheduled to resolve labor dispute

The two sides of the Broadway labor dispute may not be talking — but everybody else with a stake in the dispute is as legiters continued to speculate about the outcome of the stagehands’ strike that began Saturday.

The League of American Theaters and Producers officially canceled performances through the end of today. A closed meeting of producers held by the League Tuesday morningwas said to yield little news, other than reiterations of general support for the League’s tough stance.

In the other camp, the Writers Guild of America offered its endorsement to stagehands’ union Local One. A recent letter to Local One prexy James J. Claffey from WGA leaders Michael Winship and Patric M. Verrone, posted on the WGA website, declared that org’s “heartfelt and vocal support” of the Local One strike.

“The careers of many of our members began and continue in the theater,” the letter read. “Know that IATSE Local One can rely on us to work with you and join you as your and our struggles continue.”

In Gotham, Local One hoped to gain a PR boost from a charity event at the Marquis Theater Monday night. The picket line for the Marquis production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” was temporarily removed in deference to the event, a fund-raiser for a family services org devoted to mentally challenged children. Stagehands worked the benefit pro bono.

Meanwhile, many legiters said privately that given the apparent intractability of both sides, the work stoppage seemed likely to extend at least through the week, and maybe even into the traditionally lucrative Thanksgiving weekend. Some wondered if the next step of the strike would see IATSE leadership extend the walkout to stagehands for Broadway road shows, a potentially devastating move.

Gotham mayor Michael Bloomberg’s offers of mediation have been declined by the union, and Monday night Bloomberg, in a public show of support for area businesses affected by the strike, changed his dinner plans so he could dine at Orso midtown — coincidentally right beside the Local One office on 46th Street.

Many darkened shows pulled their advertising buys. Even those unaffected by the strike worried over whether to keep running ads, not wanting to peeve fellow producers whose shows have been shuttered.

The Theater Development Fund was forced to do a little juggling for its Stage Door program, which was skedded to have 900 school children see the Wednesday matinee of “A Bronx Tale.” Instead, star Chazz Palminteri will do an informal Q&A with the group at Town Hall, a midtown venue not affected by the strike.

Silver lining could still be found Off Broadway, which continued to see sales rise, particularly for tuners such as “Altar Boyz” and “Forbidden Broadway: Rude Awakening.” To better benefit from the Broadway spillover, “Rude Awakening” added two perfs to its regular playing sked, one last night and one tonight.

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