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Broadway emerges from four days in dark

New York, March 11 (Reuters): The lights of Broadway will shine bright again tonight after four days in the dark.

An economically damaging strike by Broadway musicians ended when producers and the musicians’ union reached an agreement in their dispute over orchestra sizes, officials said.

“Broadway is no longer dark and that is great for the city and for people who work in the theatre,” New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who called the two sides into all-night talks at his official residence, said at a news conference. “Every single Broadway show will be lit tonight honouring ticket holders,” Bloomberg said.

The contract dispute between the League of American Theatres and Producers and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 centred on the producers’ desire to cut the minimum size of orchestras at the largest theatres to 15 players from as many as 26. The union wanted to maintain the higher numbers.

Musicians’ union president Bill Moriarity said the 13 largest theatres now have minimums of 18 to 19 musicians. All the terms of the agreement would be sent to members for their approval, Moriarity said.

The producers had hoped to use pre-recorded music during the strike, but the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the Actor’s Equity Association both supported the musicians.

Moriarity thanked the other unions for supporting the strike by not crossing picket lines, adding: “We went out together and we are going back together.”

League president Jed Bernstein said “neither side got everything it wanted and neither was able to get through the process without making compromises.”

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