The stagehands' strike plunged Broadway into the dark as the backstage workers pushed for a pay rise, said producers and theatre-owners.
The strike will have an economic impact of 11.5 million (Bt570 million) per day in direct and indirect costs, said Charlotte Saint Martin, executive director of the League of American Theatres and Producers.
The league and the union have been negotiating since June but have not reached a contract deal. The disagreement centres on the league's demand for flexibility in determining how many stagehands are needed for a job, in order to avoid paying for idle workers.
"Our goal is simple: to pay for workers we need and for work that is actually performed. Stagehands are highly skilled and ... the highest-paid stagehands in the theatrical world," Saint Martin said.
The union, with about 2,200 members, maintains that theatre-owners have been unclear about what offsetting benefits stagehands can have in return.
All but eight Broadway shows were to be shuttered. Those excluded are in theatres that have a separate union contract, the owners' league said.
Broadway draws millions of foreign tourists each year and is considered one of New York City's primary attractions. It brings in US$5 billion (Bt169 billion) annually to the city and employs some 45,000 full-time workers.
Industry experts say more than 12 million people attended Broadway shows from 2006-07 and that ticket sales were up 8.9 percent in the season.
This month's trouble marked the second work stoppage on Broadway in less than five years. A four-day musicians' strike in 2003 was the first time since 1975 that a labour dispute hit Broadway.
And it was the second major stoppage to grip the industry in under a week.
The Writers' Guild of America (WGA) downed pens on November 5 after last-ditch talks with Hollywood producers over the issue of payment from Internet sales and downloads broke down.
The industrial action is the first by the WGA in nearly 20 years and has plunged the industry into turmoil, halting production on hit television shows.
Popular late-night chat shows hosted by Jay Leno and David Letterman have also gone into shutdown this week because of the strike, which industry analysts believe may last several months.
Most major movie studios have sought to insulate themselves from the strike by stockpiling scripts. However, the longer the dispute goes on, the greater the risk of film productions being disrupted.
powerhouse, n: something of great strength, success or influence
on the heels, expression: following quickly; succeeding very soon
to negotiate, v: to discuss how an agreement may be reached
idle, adj: not working; having nothing to do
primary, adj: most important
trouble, n: difficult situation
dispute, n: disagreement; quarrel
to grip, v: to hold; to control
to down, v: to put something down; to stop working
to insulate, v: to protect so that something bad cannot reach or affect
1. What is this article about?
d. movie launch
2. What does the League of American Theatres and Producers want?a. cut wages
b. shorten holidays
c. hire fewer workers
d. increase working hours
3. Why do they want this?
a. They are worried about people getting bored.
b. Customer service needs improving.
c. Workers need more job satisfaction.
d. Now they are paying people who don't work.
4. What effect does the strike of the Writers' Guild of America have?
a. Some shows have had to be cancelled.
b. Scriptwriting is outsourced to Bollywood.
c. Movie tickets are getting more expensive.
d. Actors are suing them for compensation.
5. What have film studios done to prevent this problem?
a. They recycle old scripts.
b. They keep showing reruns.
c. They don't pay striking writers.
d. They are keeping many scripts in stock.
Which of the following words or phrases replace the ones from the passage best?
4. shuttera. open
5. last-ditcha. decisive
Questions 1. a, 2. c, 3. d, 4. a, 5. d
Synonyms 1. c, 2. d, 3. a, 4. c, 5. c
By Ajarn Horst Baelz