On the Scene: Grinch Is First Show Affected by Strike

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10 Nov 2007

Stagehands picket the St. James Theatre, home of <I>The Grinch</I>.
Stagehands picket the St. James Theatre, home of The Grinch.
Photo by Andrew Ku
Striking Broadway stagehands set up picket lines in front of all the affected theatres as of 10 AM Nov. 10 on a partly cloudy morning. They walked in organized circles carrying white signs that read, "On strike against takebacks."
The first show to be affected by the strike was Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas—The Musical, which had an 11 AM matinee at the St. James Theatre. Families with angry parents and bewildered looking children were interviewed by radio and camera crews.

Patrick Page, who plays the Grinch, was out front in his civilian clothes apologizing to families and hugging disappointed children.

John Russell of Ocean County, NJ, had brought his wife and 11-year-old daughter Jennifer and had spent $200 to stay overnight at a hotel, hoping to make a day of it. He said he found out about the strike at his hotel at 9 AM and came down to the St. James Theatre anyway, hoping for a last-minute settlement. As 11 AM approached and Page was still not in costume, Russell said, "I feel the stagehands stole Christmas."

Page said he felt bad for the families who missed out on the show, but that he supported the union's position.

The picketers said there would be no comment from the union. They handed out colored sheets that read, in part, "We truly regret that there is no show...Unlike the producers, we are not fighting for our second or third homes; we are fighting to keep the one that we have. We ask for your understanding in our efforts to defend ourselves and protect our families."