A showdown devoid of holiday cheer loomed Thursday at Radio City Music Hall, where management said its annual "Christmas Spectacular" would go forward with recorded music while the union for striking musicians instructed its members to show up for work.
The show, a holiday fixture for seven decades, ordinarily draws tens of thousands of revelers every Christmas season. But the labor dispute between the two sides raised questions about this year's show, as stagehands already walked out in support of the musicians. On Thursday morning, a phone hot line at the American Federation of Musicians told members: "All Radio City Hall musicians are scheduled to play the 11 a.m. performance on Thursday, and are to report to the stage door at 10:30, dressed and ready to work." However, a management spokeswoman said Radio City planned to put on the show with recorded music done by a 55-piece orchestra. The musicians walked out Wednesday. The main issues are salaries and overtime pay. The orchestra's contract expired in May, and the union blamed Radio City Entertainment, which produces the Christmas show, for the breakdown of talks. On Wednesday night, a preseason performance was canceled and ticketholders were left disappointed as several dozen musicians picketed outside the Manhattan landmark. The show, featuring the chorus-line kicks of the Rockettes dancers, is known around the world. Tickets for the show run as high as $250 (Ђ200),the AP reports