Broadway producers, actors reach agreement

— Broadway lights will continue to shine.

Two weeks after its contract expired, the union representing stage actors reached a tentative agreement Monday with theater producers, ending a period of uncertainty as the two sides wrangled over issues of health care costs, actor safety and nonunion tours of Broadway shows.

"Actors' Equity Association and the League of American Theatres and Producers announced today they have reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year Production Contract," both sides said in a joint statement.

"The leadership for both sides will meet Tuesday to hammer out the language," said League spokeswoman Kelly Sullivan, who added that it might even be Wednesday before all the details are known.

Tensions had risen over the weekend after producers of "The Boy From Oz," the hit musical starring Hugh Jackman as Australian entertainer Peter Allen, agreed to a temporary contract with the union, thus breaking ranks with other League members.

The Kennedy Center's production of "The Glass Menagerie," starring Sally Field, also signed an agreement, Maria Somma, an Equity spokeswoman, said. The revival of the Tennessee Williams classic, now in rehearsal, begins performances Saturday in Washington, D.C., for a run through Aug. 8.

Among options union leaders could have considered after its contract expired was a strike, which would have shut down most Broadway plays and musicals as well as major productions on the road. Shows have continued to run throughout the negotiations.


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