Broadway Dodges a Stagehands Strike. Now Comes the Hard Part.

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Broadway may have averted a strike by its behind-the-scenes people that would’ve shuttered 28 theatres with a last-second deal on Thursday, but that doesn’t mean the Great White Way’s troubles are over. Financial woes continue to plague many productions. As a one-time president of the Broadway League, Jed Bernstein knows first-hand what obstacles Broadway’s producers are facing. He appeared on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program to assess why the industry is ailing and what comes next.

“There’s certainly no easy answer,” Bernstein explained to Berman and Riedel. “There were things that were specific to covid, health mitigation protocols and things like that, and that certainly drove up costs, and also some of the procedural things… but then there’s the basic costs of labor and production that has gone up, like many other things have.”

To further complicate matters, as Bernstein pointed out, theater productions can cost up to $25 million just to open, and then incur about $1 million per week in running costs. “Theater has always been what they say and what they call a ‘back-end business’, which means the profits come out over time. They don’t come up front, and in order to get to the back you have to get through the front, and the front is what that million dollars a week is, that makes it so difficult.”

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