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Broadway Threatened by New Child Labor Laws

By DNAinfo Staff on January 16, 2011 12:23pm  | Updated on January 16, 2011 12:21pm

Broadway productions like
Broadway productions like "Billy Elliot" would be affected by new Labor Department rules curbing the work hours of child performers.
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Flickr/Karin Beil

By Gabriela Resto-Montero

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MIDTOWN — Legislation proposed to curb the hours that child actors work on Broadway has producers worried that their shows may not be able to go on.

The new Labor Department rules would prohibit actors under the age of 18 from working past 10 p.m. and limit the work hours of actors between the ages of nine and 16 to five hours per day with three hours of school, the New York Daily News reported.

"They are just restrictive," Keith Halpern, director of labor relations for the Broadway League, told the Daily News.

Many Broadway shows don't finish until after 10 p.m., the paper reported.

Broadway blockbusters including "The Lion King", "Les Miserables", "Hairspray" and the current "Billy Elliot" production have all featured child actors.

Already, the state requires that parents of child performers provide medical records every months stating that their children can work, the News reported.

Officials with the Labor Department said that the new rules are still under discussion and could change at a Jan. 31 public hearing.

"This is part of the process," Leo Rosales, a spokesman with the dpeartment, told the Daily News.

"We want their comments because we are going to look at them very closely to see if any changes need to be made," Rosales said.