There was harmony at the Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore Oct. 4-6, as the national tour of 42nd Street did indeed perform as scheduled despite the threat of not going on due to a local strike there.
The Council of Actors' Equity had instructed the cast of the first national tour of 42nd Street to honor the local IATSE strike and picket line at the Mechanic in Baltimore, Equity announced Oct. 4. There was a plan in place for the company to not finish its weeklong run there over the weekend. Since Oct. 1, the cast had been performing a "stripped down" version of the show that did not include set changes because stagehands and other crew refused to cross the picket lines. All week, audiences were told a "modified version" was being presented and were offered the chance to get a refund. The returns were "minimal," a spokesman said, and the reviews of the bare bones show were solid.
Equity had announced that "barring further developments" in the local strike, the cast would not go on, but there were indeed developments late Oct. 4, and the troupe did go on Oct. 4-6. The Friday show was a leaner version, but the Saturday-Sunday shows were fully-staged, said Bennett Kleinberg of Clear Channel Entertainment's theatre division.
Issues between IA Local 868, Treasurers and Ticket Sellers and Theatre Management Group, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Entertainment, which operates the historic theatre, have now been resolved, Kleinberg and a local union rep said. The dispute revolved around wage and contract issues and the fact that box office workers hadn't been working under a contract for several years, Equity said.
* Producers of the national tour of 42nd Street released this statement Oct. 4: "The touring production of 42nd Street, currently in Baltimore, is an innocent victim caught in a labor dispute between IATSE Local 868 ticket sellers at the Mechanic Theatre and the local theatre operator. There are no disputes of any kind with the touring production of 42nd Street. The production stands ready to perform subject to a resolution of the local labor dispute."
The Equity Council was "extremely concerned" about safety issues for the large cast musical, which had been performed without scenery and costume changes since Oct. 1. "The tour's stagehands, who provide essential support backstage, have not crossed Local 868's picket lines, potentially endangering cast members who performed a 'stripped down' version for the past three nights," according to the earlier Equity statement.