The Grinch is going to court to steal Christmas back from Broadway theater owners.
James Sanna of Running Subway, the producing org behind the limited holiday run of tuner “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” said Monday afternoon he intends to seek an injunction that would require Jujamcyn Theaters to allow his strike-shuttered show to go on.
“It’s not like there’s an opportunity for us to put up our show in May,” Sanna said at a press conference Monday afternoon. “We only have seven more weeks in the run.”
“Grinch” is an atypical victim of the shutdown.
“Grinch” producers are not members of the League of American Theaters and Producers, the management side of the current Rialto labor dispute. The production has a separate contract with striking stagehands’ union Local One, thanks its unusually heavy performance schedule that includes some 15-perf weeks. The current agreement with Local One, reached over the summer, is modeled on the contract the production had with the union during its inaugural holiday stint last year.
According to Sanna, he was alerted Sunday night that Local One would remove the picket line from the front of the St. James Theater, the Broadway venue occupied by “Grinch.”
But League member Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns the St. James, will not allow the stagehands to return to work so the show can perform.
” ‘The Grinch’ will not reopen until the union signs agreements and ends the strike at all theaters and all the other shows that have been closed by their strikes reopen on Broadway,” said a letter from Jujamcyn producing director Paul Libin.
Details about the potential “Grinch” litigation remain sketchy. Sanna said he did not yet know if producers would be filing for damages, or what court they would petition to grant the injunction.
Meanwhile, the 27 Broadway shows affected by the strike remained dark. A long weekend of talks broke off abruptly late Sunday night, resulting in the cancellation of strike-affected productions through the Thanksgiving weekend.
No further negotiation sessions have been skedded.