Happy Labor Day. Now what the heck is it?

When I was a young pup, I thought Labor Day was code for National Barbeque-Where-Your-Extended-Family-Gets-Drunk-and-Falls-in-the-Pool Day.

But surprise, surprise, Uncle Johnny, it’s not that.

It’s also not National End-of-Summer Day, or even National Back-to-School Day.

And sorry, Moms, it’s not a day honoring you for giving birth (although, I think you all need, like, three weeks off for that one).

It’s Labor Day, a day the Department of Labor defines as “a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

I’d like to take today’s post to recognize the contributions our industry’s workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of Broadway and beyond.

Everyone knows we’ve got some pretty powerful unions that provide us with the labor we need to produce and develop shows.  And why shouldn’t they be powerful?  They represent the best the world has to offer in terms of technical and creative theatrical skills.

And while it may be easy to throw stones at the unions for some of our industry’s issues, it’s important to remember why unions were born in the first place . . . to further one of the basic principles our country was founded on:  checks and balances.

So today, when you’re biting into a burger, or when your uncle has one too many Zimas and belly-flops into the deep end, remember that we’re all in this together.

And only together can we ensure that we’ve all got good jobs for many Labor Days to come.

Happy Labor Day. Now, what is it?

I’ve celebrated Labor Day for a few decades now.  Until today, I didn’t know much about it, except that it was about Labor, it signaled the end of summer, and I got a day off from work.

Did you know that the first Labor Day was celebrated in 1882?

Did you know that the first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City?

Did you know that the idea originated in Canada?  I mean, how many things originate in Canada?  (Sorry, bad inside joke between me and a couple of my Canadian friends who I pick on constantly for being from up north).

You can learn all about Labor Day here and here.

How many things do we celebrate, take advantage of, reap benefits from, etc., that we don’t truly understand?

I’m making a Labor Day resolution this year to find out more about everything that was designed to give me some reward, whether that reward be a day off . . . or tourists at the box office.  🙂

Lastly, it takes well over a hundred of the best laborers from all over the world (including the great state of Canada), to put on one Broadway show.  From stagehands to advertising agents to ushers to actors, hundreds of people work their marquees off to get a show up.

Many of this work force come from over 10 different unions.  Many are not represented.

Either way, they represent the best work force in the theater the world has to offer.

For that, we should be very thankful.

Happy Labor Day.