NEW YORK, UNITED STATES — A tentative agreement was reached in New York Thursday to avert a strike that threatened to shut most Broadway shows, as Hollywood remains on hold over historic industrial action.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), which represents the 1,500 stagehands and other backstage workers involved in the dispute, had begun the process of voting on a walkout.
But the union reached an agreement with Disney Theatrical and industry trade group the Broadway League, which represents theatre owners and producers, the parties said in a joint statement.
The contract still needs to be ratified by IATSE’s rank-and-file and will be put to members in the coming days, the statement added.
“The strike has been averted, though the contract must be approved by the membership,” said union spokesman Jonas Loeb.
The deal was reached after IATSE on Wednesday authorized a vote on whether to strike that was expected to take a couple of days.
US media reported that any action would have disrupted New York’s famous theater district from Friday, delivering a blow to the city’s economy during the summer tourist season.
If approved, the walkout was expected to close 28 shows in the Big Apple and 17 performances that are currently touring the United States and Canada.
There are presently about 30 Broadway shows running, according to ticket websites.
The strike threat came as the first industry-wide walkout in more than 60 years has effectively shut down Hollywood, America’s giant movie and television business.
Around 160,000 movie and television actors walked off the job last week after negotiations to reach a deal with production studios ended without agreement.
They joined several thousand writers who have been on strike for weeks.
Broadway grossed US$1.6 billion in revenues with more than 12.3 million tickets sold in its 2022-23 season that ended in May, according to the Broadway League.