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Tony Awards labor dispute resolved

The stagehands' union and producers of the Tony Awards reached agreement Friday on how the show's red carpet area will be staffed, ending a labor dispute that threatened to derail Broadway's biggest night.

Members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees had vowed to picket near the Beacon Theatre, where the awards show will be held Sunday. They were angry that producers of the show had nonunion workers setting up the red carpet area.

A deal between both sides was announced Friday afternoon, though details weren't immediately disclosed. The union won its biggest demand -- for union workers to staff the area.

"Both labor and management are satisfied with the terms and conditions of the agreement, which will not be publicly disclosed," both sides said in a statement. "The red carpet staging area for this and future Tony Award shows at the Beacon Theatre will be staffed by union labor."

The change in the Tony Awards' venue this year has put stress on producers. The ceremony was forced to leave its longtime home at Radio City Music Hall because Cirque du Soleil took over the Art Deco theater for its new show and Tony producers picked the 3,000-seat Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side, which has only about half as many seats as Radio City.

The stagehands have traditionally set up the red carpet and tent outside the annual event, but since the show was moved to a new theater this year, the red carpet was moved a block south -- outside the perimeter where the union is ensured jobs.

The dispute could have made celebrities uncomfortable crossing a picket line -- complete with a giant inflatable rat -- to be photographed on the red carpet.

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