McCartney Concert, Lion King prep keep local union busy

Local stagehands so in demand out of towners needed too, adding to local economy

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - The Syracuse economy is getting a nice boost just from the work stagehands are getting setting up for the Paul McCartney concert in the Carrier Dome as well as preparations for the Lion King.

Between the two shows, IATSE Local 9 has nearly 300 people at work and is even pulling in union stagehands from other states to handle all the work.

Local 9 Business Agent Keith Russell tells NewsChannel 9, "I bring in people from out of town everywhere.  We have people here from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee, so they are covering all these calls to make sure these shows happen."

He says these out of town workers are good for local hotels, restaurants and shops in the area.

While only a few days are needed for the McCartney show the stagehands are needed for several weeks to help tech the Lion King.

It involves building the set from the ground up in a way that it will easily be able to be disassembled and rebuilt in city after city when the show goes on the road around the country after it plays Syracuse in Oct. 26 - Nov. 12.

Russell says since the Landmark reopened a few years ago after major renovations it has meant steady work for his team and the Lakeview Amphitheater is also helping with employment.

"What once was holes is filled so its great for all our guys and keeps them here because when there isn't a lot of work they have to go find it somewhere else but now we can keep the most experienced people right here in town."  Russell says.

This is the 125th anniversary of IATSE in Syracuse.

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