A New York judge on Wednesday ordered a theater owner to reopen Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical despite a strike by stagehands that has shut down most of Broadway.
State Court Justice Helen Freedman granted an injunction sought by the musical's producers, who argued their contract was not subject to the strike and who had the backing of the stagehands union, which wanted the show to go on at the St. James Theater.
Jujamcyn Theaters LLC, owner of the St. James and four other Broadway theaters affected by the strike, had decided to lock out The Grinch until a new labor agreement was reached.
With no new talks scheduled and the strike in its 12th day, that could have ruined the limited-engagement run for the holiday musical, which attracts children from out of town who often are seeing a Broadway play for the first time.
I think that one Grinch in this city is enough, Freedman told a packed courtroom. Children who are part of the cast filled the front row of the courtroom and shrieked with joy as she announced her ruling.
The interests of the public are overwhelming. For the sake of our city, I'm granting an injunction, Freedman said.
The injunction saves 11 Grinch shows over the Thanksgiving weekend, one of the busiest times of the year for Broadway, and the show will continue until January 6.
In a separate case, the producers of nine Broadway shows on Tuesday sued the striking stagehands of Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and their president James Claffey Jr. for $35 million, seeking to recover lost revenues.
The Nederlander Producing Co. of America Inc. represents the long-running shows Wicked, Hairspray, The Drowsy Chaperone, Rent and The Lion King and newer shows Grease, Legally Blonde, Cyrano De Bergerac and The Little Mermaid.
Those shows have lost $35 million in gross revenues from ticket sales, concessions and merchandise, Nederlander said.
Nederlander has a separate contract with the union but has agreed to accept any terms negotiated with the union by The League of American Theaters and Producers.
The strike followed three months of talks which bogged down over work rules for stagehands. Producers complain they must pay for long stretches of idle time.
But the producer of The Grinch is not a member of the league, and a union spokesman said the stagehands wanted the show to go on so he could avoid financial ruin.
We got our miracle on 44th Street, producer James Sanna said in a statement.