8. March 7-11, 2003 Strike
The 2003 Broadway musicians strike lasted for four days from March 7 through early morning March 11, organizations by the AEA, the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, and American Federation of Musicians Local 802 union members. The League of American Theatres and Producers tried to reduce the minimum orchestra size from 24-26 all the way to seven members accompanied by a virtual orchestra. Union members from Local 802 developed a campaign called “Save Live Broadway” which received 30,000 signatures.
325 musicians from Local 802, 650 actors from AEA, and 350 stagehands from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees went on strike, which shut down every Broadway musical except Cabaret, which had a different contract. During the strike, musicians even arranged a mock funeral for live music in Times Square. It was estimated that $7 million was lost per performance for New York businesses. At the end of the strike, minimum requirements for musicians decreased to 18-19, which would stay in effect for the next 10 years.