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Stagehands' union may picket Tony Awards' red carpet

June 9, 2011 | 11:47 am

TonyAwardssA threatened union strike is not expected to stop superstars from attending Sunday night's Tony Awards, but celebrities may choose to avoid entering the Beacon Theater via the red carpet.

Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees plans to disrupt the VIP arrivals zone with inflatable rats and as many as 400 pickets plan to protest its exclusion from setting up the area this year. Usually, the union organizes the red carpet, but budget cutbacks caused the Tony chiefs to remove the official entry from the union's jurisdiction when the ceremony moved uptown.

In the past, when the Tonys ceremony was held in Midtown at Radio City Music Hall, the awards organization reaped revenue from the sale of nearly 6,000 tickets, but the show just got displaced by Cirque du Soleil's "Zarkana." There are only 3,000 seats at the Tonys' new venue, the Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side where the stagehands union would normally have jurisdiction over the red carpet entry if it was located outside the theater's entrance on Broadway. However, Tony chiefs moved the arrivals area to Amsterdam Avenue behind the theater where the union doesn't have official authority.

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Tony Awards