Another act for Broadway talks

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NEW YORK -- Striking Broadway stagehands and theater producers will try again today to work out a deal to end their protracted labor dispute that has darkened theaters for more than two weeks.

Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the League of American Theatres and Producers, said Tuesday that the two sides will meet at 10 a.m. EST.

Local 1, the stagehands union, and the league have been through two marathon negotiating sessions in the past two days, the most recent ending Tuesday morning after an all-night meeting.

A long Sunday meeting between Local 1 and the league spilled into the early morning hours of Monday. Both sides resumed talks Monday evening and continued until past dawn, fueled by salad and bottled water deliveries.

Renewed efforts to end the work stoppage came at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday week, usually one of the best times of the year for Broadway. Not so this year, with most of Broadway -- including such big hits as "Wicked," "Jersey Boys," "The Lion King," "Mamma Mia!" and "The Phantom of the Opera" -- shut down since the stagehands walked out Nov. 10.

Both Local 1 and the league have been under pressure to find a solution as boxoffice losses climb and other unions that work on Broadway, including the Actors' Equity Assn., began to feel the effects of no paychecks.

Theater-related businesses have been hurt, too. City Comptroller William Thompson has estimated the economic impact of the strike at $2 million a day, based on survey data that includes theatergoers' total spending on tickets, dining and shopping.
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