Nine Yiddish theatres in New York will close on Sunday night unless their employes in all departments are willing to accept a 40 per cent reduction in wages immediately. This was the ultimatum delivered by the managers of these theatres to the 700 members of the Jewish stage unions on Tuesday.
About 150 Yiddish actors are included in this ultimatum. The theatres which are threatening to close their doors are the National, Second Avenue, Folks, Public and Odeon in Manhattan; the Lyric, Roland and Hopkinson in Brooklyn; and the Prospect in the Bronx. Other unions who are affected by this ultimatum besides the actors are those of the stage hands, musicians, doormen, ushers, dressers and chorus.
The intended reduction is aimed at the stage hands, who are said to receive the highest wage, according to one manager, who said that in some theatres the actors have already taken a voluntary reduction with the promise of a return to normal scale as soon as business has improved.
It was also stated that conditions in the New York Yiddish theatres are worse this year than ever before, in spite of the fact that the price of tickets has been reduced. Cheap prices charged by neighborhood movie houses, unemployment and the fact that Jewish audiences are more and more turning to the English-speaking stage of Broadway are adversely affecting the Yiddish theatre, it was stated.