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Strike intermission ends; Broadway shows open

  • Story Highlights
  • Stagehands walked off the job on November 10
  • Dispute centered on how many stagehands needed for a Broadway show
  • Tentative agreement reached late Wednesday
  • Businesses, theaters lost millions in darkened holiday week
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- The lights of Broadway will shine brightly again after stagehands and producers reached a tentative agreement Wednesday evening, ending a 19-day strike.

League of American Theaters and Producers Director Charlotte St. Martin calls the deal "a good compromise."

"The contract is a good compromise that serves our industry," said League of American Theaters and Producers Executive Director Charlotte St. Martin. "We look forward to celebrating the season and welcoming our talented stagehands, and the theater-going public, back to Broadway."

Shuttered Broadway performances were scheduled to resume Thursday night. The settlement followed marathon talks on Sunday, Monday, and again on Wednesday.

"The people of Broadway are looking forward to returning to work, giving the theater-going public the joy of Broadway, the greatest entertainment in the world," said International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local One President James J. Claffey Jr.

The stagehands walked off the job on November 10, two days after talks ended, shuttering 26 of the 35 shows on Broadway. Talks resumed a few days later, but fell apart again on November 18 before resuming once more Sunday.

The strike had a powerful financial impact, shutting down shows during the traditionally strong Thanksgiving week. Overall, New York City Comptroller William Thompson estimated the economic impact of the strike at $2 million a day, based on survey data that include theatergoers' total spending on tickets, dining and shopping, according to The Associated Press.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg cheered the news of a settlement.

"Tonight's announcement of a tentative agreement between the Broadway stagehands and theater producers is great news not just for everyone who earns their living on or around Broadway, but for everyone who lives in, works in, or visits New York City," Bloomberg said.

Several shows that were in previews in mid-November -- including Aaron Sorkin's "The Farnsworth Invention," "August: Osage County" from Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company and an adaptation of a long-lost Mark Twain comedy, "Is He Dead?" -- are now establishing opening dates, according to The Associated Press.

Disney's "The Little Mermaid," which was scheduled to open December 6, is pushing back its premiere as well.

The union represents 3,000 property persons, stage and studio electricians, set carpenters, sound designers, audio technicians, moving-light operators, riggers and special effects workers in New York.

The contract dispute centered on how many stagehands are required to open a Broadway show and keep it running, as well as wage issues. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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