Theatrical unions were not informed of Broadway’s extended closing date ahead of its public announcement, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Rather, union leaders found out that Broadway would be closed through at least June 7 through announcements made in the press last Wednesday. Though this extended closure date is seen as a placeholder intended to assist with processing ticket refunds, the unions have asked to be included in conversations with the Broadway League about future announcements in order to better inform their members.
Asked for comment, the Broadway League said that it told the collective unions at a meeting on April 6 that “a new re-opening date would soon be announced.” The exact date was not shared at the time, because the League wanted to “maintain the integrity of this confidential information (and not have it subject to misinterpretation),” according to a spokesperson.
“In this way, all of our respective partners and their constituents would receive the same accurate information at the same time,” the spokesperson said.
Many members of Broadway productions found out about the news through the press on April 8 or through a communication from their respective unions after the initial announcement. However, some members told Broadway News they had received communication from their show about the date change ahead of the announcement.
The League first announced a 30-day closure of Broadway theaters beginning March 12, in a move championed by Actors’ Equity. After that announcement, the League and Broadway unions, including Actors’ Equity, Local 802 American Federation of Musicians, the Society of Directors and Choreographers and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, struck an agreement in which the producers would pay members of the productions about three weeks’ salary.
Producers also agreed to pay health contributions for members of their productions through April 12, with the promise of discussing the possibility of further health contributions if the suspension of shows continued.
Since the new closure date was announced, conversations have been continuing on future health contributions, according to sources.