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Producers Close London Musical Without an Orchestra

May 2, 1987

LONDON (AP) _ Actors in the musical ″Cabaret″ who were idled when the musicians walked out have called on the casts of other West End shows to strike in solidarity.

″We would like to see the whole of the West End come out on strike if it means this sort of thing will never happen again,″ Paul Hegerty, a ″Cabaret″ cast member, said after the show closed Friday.

The closure put the show’s stars Wayne Sleep and Toyah Willcox and 83 other people out of work. The angry actors at once assembled in the Strand Theater, where they called on the casts of other shows for support.

The West End is London’s theater district.

The problem began three days ago when five musicians were fired from the show for allegedly playing too loud and out of tune. Their union immediately ordered the rest of the orchestra to walk out.

The cast worked without musicians for two nights, but gave up Friday after only 51 people showed up at the 897-seat Strand on Thursday, and producer Willy Hancock said losses were running about $13,200 a night.

″Cabaret″ opened in July to mixed reviews and was expected to run at least through October, with the hope of a national tour in 1988.

When the show closed Friday, the actors urged their union, Equity, to make an urgent protest to the Musicians’ Union. ″There is no hope unless Equity helps us,″ Miss Willcox said as she left the Strand.

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