New York Theater Week After Sandy: Turn Off The Dark

New York Theater In The Week After Sandy

Sandy, arriving angrily last Monday, shocked New York, leaving much of the city, including most of its theater, in disarray. If New Yorkers have never completely embraced Spider-Man, they surely took up its subtitle as their rallying cry this past week: Turn Off The Dark.

Both New York and New York theater are making a slower-than-hoped-for recovery from the storm, thanks to the severity of the damage and unanticipated delays in restoring both power and public transportation to full capacity.  But Broadway came back relatively quickly – after three days of cancelations, all Broadway shows resumed on Wednesday, and Thursday’s opening of “The Heiress” went on as scheduled.  Downtown theater, harder hit, is back on the boards this weekend, and luring theatergoers Off-Broadway with weeklong deep discounts.

Help is being organized for those who need assistance because of Sandy, including theaters and theater artists.

This past week in New York featured countless tales of tragedy and heroism – the stuff of drama. But for most of us, a week that began with lots of levity turned into day-to-day drudgery filled with petty and irksome inconveniences. The week in New York Theater, October 29 to November 4, 2012, reflects both.

Monday, October 29, 2012

@‪NYCMayorsOffice: All ‪@NYCSchools & all ‪@NYCParks are closed today, & all ‪@MTAInsider service is suspended. #Sandy

Jonathan   (@NewYorkTheater): Not so bad out, except the street looks like hit by Zombie Apocalypse

 Hope Baugh (@IndyTheatre): Hope you and everyone “out east” make it through safely, Jonathan!

 Mayoral update: Water surge as high as 11 feet will peak in NYC at around 8 pm tonight. “Tomorrow morning we expect to be very wet.”

Women won the right to vote in the United States 92 years ago today.

 James Sims (@SimsJames): Sandy must not be a suffragette.

“Ask My Friend Sandy,” a play by Stanley Young,was performed at the Biltmore (now the Samuel J Friedman) from February 4-13, 1943

‪#Sandy Alvarez, Sandy Baron,Sandy Binion, Sandy Bozoki,Sandy Brown,Sandy Campbell & of course Sandy Dennis all performed on Bway

Scott Heller ‏‪(@hellerNYT): Don’t forget Gary Sandy, replacement Pirate King in “Pirates of Penzance”

 “Karen Wilson” (‪@akakarenwilson) ‪#Sandy Duncan

 George Washington Bridge, Verrazano and several other bridges (Throgs Neck, Whitestone etc.) closing at 7 p.m.

Tyler Moss ‪(@TylerJMoss): Guess I’m not leaving NYC now…

 All Broadway performances canceled for Tuesday, says Broadway League.

Bloomberg: “The time for relocation and evacuation is over.” From now on, stay indoors.

@ElBloombito Por favor to no run under los trees. Que get bonked on su cabeza. Que migraine.

Jonathan Mandell Who else got a recorded announcement from Con Ed that they may shut off your electrical power “as a precautionary measure”?

Catherine Porter @CatPeculiar We got it earlier today

 Tyler Moss They said they’d be notifying most of lower manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

Residential building on 14th St. & 8th Ave. (across from Google’s NYC headquarters) has collapsed, according to ‪@FDNY

Shirlz ‏@Shirlz1123 that’s insane!!!

 Water level at the Battery has reached 11.25 ft, says @nycgov, surpassing the all-time record of 11.2 ft set in 1821. 

70,000 New Yorkers have lost electrical power. #ConEd shut down 6,500 more as “precautionary measure.” We could be next.

Jonathan Mandell  Threat of no electricity is less scary than the spooky sounds of wind. I suddenly really want a cupcake.

V ‏‪(@IMV55): In preparation I baked chocolate cupcakes, cornbread, blueberry muffins and pies yesterday

Times Square

Jason Robert Brown (@MrJasonRBrown): Except that since there’s a marquee for “Follies”, it was probably last year during Irene.

Cara ‏@cgtheatregeek: Also, Memphis.

Natalie Chernicoff (@n2natalie): Yep, it’s from Irene last year. Note the Memphis billboard in the upper left as well.

Nina M’Shine ‏(@unusualway) It’s definitely not from today as that Mamma Mia billboard is actually a Mary Poppins/Newsies billboard now!

Jonathan Mandell ‏Ok, well, there goes my electricity

 “Power went out in parts of Manhattan as subways and tunnels flooded” NYT

250,000 people are reportedly without electricity in Manhattan alone. Downtown, the waters surged an unprecedented 13 feet.

@NYCMayorsOffice Things have gotten tough, but we will get through this together, as New York City always does. #Sandy

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jonathan Mandell: 16 hours without power….It’s like I Am Legend outside.

Kathy Perry (@krperry2): do you know if any theaters got flooded & sets destroyed?

Partial bus service will reportedly be restored at 5 pm today

Victoria Barbarino @VictoriaBarbss I never thought I would see the day when Staten Island is absolutely destroyed. #SaveStatenIsland #Prayingforeveryone

Wednesday, October 31

18 New Yorkers died. Breezy Point completely destroyed. No subway service for days more. 600,000+ still without power.

Linda Matson ‏(@It_sLinny): The destruction is overwhelming. I believe more than 18 New Yorkers have perished
Jonathan Mandell: 36 hours without electricity. No restoration in sight. No subways.
Buses are running, and they are free. People are calm, matter-of-fact.
Estelle ‏(@thatsostelle): Really? Not here. Not here at all. #Queens
Jonathan Mandell: Most Broadway open for business today. I am grateful for Lincoln Center, since I am using one of their electric outlets to charge up. Then I’m going to try for a matinee.
William Akers (‏@ouijum) Glad you’re cozy! I’m looking for theaters that sustained flood damage and might need help—you heard anything?

Jonathan Mandell: I saw that the Playwrights Sidewalk marquee at the Lucille Lortel Theater was smashed by wind.

“All artists are making art by cleaning right now”~Martha Bowers of Dance Theatre Etc. (@RedHookArts)  as quoted by Akers.

Checkers, with Anthony Paglia as Richard Nixon, will NOT open today at Vineyard Theatre, thanks to Sandy. Not sure when it’ll resume

Vineyard Theatre ‏(@vineyardtheatre): We are still without power, sadly. Theater facility is fine otherwise. We will let you know when we’re back!
The Mystery of Edwin Drood offered matinee tickets for $20….and the place was packed!

The Village Halloween Parade has been postponed, probably until next week. (But you couldn’t ask for a scarier Halloween)


Halloween 2012 on Christopher Street

Gigi Agius (‏@TheGigi): So sad
Subway will begin limited service in NYC tomorrow, says Gov, but none below 34th St. because still no electricity. Fares will be waived for buses, subways and commuter lines through Friday.
Thursday, November 1
 Broadway always wears a smile
A million lights they flicker there
A million hearts beat quicker there
No skies of grey on the Great White Way
That’s the Broadway Melody — from Singing in the Rain
All Broadway shows are on tonight, and most are offering special deals — e.g. The Performers, $29 at box office
Jonathan Mandell: Left the Dark Zone, entering the Dangling Crane Zone
Gina Marie ‏(@genxgina): be careful!!
ege maltepe ‏(@egemaltepe): stay safe!
Jonathan Mandell: Smart phones and laptops etc are NOT designed for emergencies. The engineers of transistor radios were smarter.
Suzanne Du Charme ‏ (@SuzanneDuCharme): Yep. And they were about the same size. With an ear piece so we could listen to them with the volume down.

Jonathan Mandell: My search for electricity would make a bad TV series. The Power Seekers?

Joe Thomas (@JoeThomasNYC): Or NBC’s Revolution
Jefferson Market Library (@jmarketlibrary): Our clock stopped at 8:25pm on Monday – we are still closed!
Jonathan Mandell: Half a million NYC residents remain without electrical power, about 1/2 in Manhattan. Can anybody say when it’ll be restored?
Aubrie Fennecken ‏@AubrieF  I just got a call from ConEd saying all power should be restored by “next weekend” – not sure what they intend that to mean
Thomas Cott (@YouveCottMail):   Update: “@ConEdison expects lower/mid Manhattan back by Saturday.”
Jesse Oxfeld ‏(@joxfeld): The folks at @ConEd can tell us nothing useful, just the same boilerplate since Tuesday. Also: Dry ice! They’re the worst.
Jonathan Mandell: My refrigerator is starting to turn into the Little Shop of Horrors…..or maybe the Toxic Avenger.
There is a new neighborhood in New York — SoPo, South of Power
 @AndrewAndrew The Dark Zone starts right below 42nd st, conspiracy?

(Incongruously, theater news:)

Harvey Weinstein wants in on Broadway: Movie mogul in talks to mount his first Broadway musical as lead producer, Finding Neverland

The Heiress: Judith Ivey, Dan Stevens, David Strathairn, Jessica Chastain

My review of The Heiress:

At the beginning of “The Heiress,” the heartbreaking story of an abandoned love, Jessica Chastain descends the staircase of a sumptuous mansion in a dazzling red dress and a glorious smile – and right away, we see the problem with the fifth Broadway production of this celebrated play…

Chastain’s beauty and grace throw the delicate dynamic of “The Heiress” out of whack….

t takes an intense willingness to overlook the miscasting of Chastain in order to gain maximum pleasure from director Moises Kaufman’s other choices. Derek McLane’s set is elegant in its rich hues and delicious in its details. Albert Wolsky’s costumes and David Lander’s lighting take us back to mid-19th-century New York. Dan Stevens is nearly as dashing and personable here as when he plays the dreamboat Matthew Crawley in the BBC TV series Downton Abbey…

Full review of The Heiress

Sarah Packard ‏(@ladystardust25): Definitely my problem with this production too…and I also saw Cherry Jones.

Friday, November 2

#Sandy death toll in NYC rises to 41, in US as a whole, more than 100

@fema If you’ve been affected by #Sandy apply for assistance online at  or call 1-800-621-FEMA(3362)

@nycmayorsoffice: We’ve decided to cancel NYC marathon. The NY Road Runners will have additional information in days ahead…

Off-Broadway promising $20 tickets to many shows once they reopen

Jonathan Mandell: MTA bus drivers are forbidden to enter the Dark Zone at night — just where public transportation is needed most. Hey MTA, are you afraid we Dark Zone residents will hijack your buses?

Tanya Elder ‏@Elderta You still don’t have lights?

Jonathan Mandell: 98 hours, no power.

The Moon — from the Dark Zone

Saturday, November 3

Jonathan Mandell: And the power is back — 105 hours after it disappeared.

Robert Carreon ‏(@ahrmi):Ditto on Wash Square. Glad that all is well
Teri Tynes (@TeriTynes) Good morning, Greenwich Village. You look good in lights.
The sun has come out
(It’s tomorrow!) ~ Annie
Oh, Auntie Em! I’m so glad to be at home again! ~ Wizard of Oz
I’ll be all around in the dark. I’ll be everywhere…Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there…And when our people eat the stuff they raise, and the houses they build, I’ll be there too ~ Grapes of Wrath
Vineyard Theatre: We have power! Thank you all for your kindness
5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, which resumes at Soho Playhouse tonight, giving away 20 tix per show to anybody “displaced” by #Sandy
Andrew Keenan-Bolger ‏(@KeenanBlogger): Donate $10 to the #Sandy #Relief@Newsies #SIP (Saturday Intermission Picture)
Julia Murney ‏(@JuliaMurney):  Falling is back up tonight-8pm and u can get tix thru the week for a steal Now off to Staten Island to lend them a hand…
Alone with Timothy McCown Reynolds, Annalisa Ledson
Alone, Rabbit Hole Ensemble

My review of Alone

It is not easy to treat “Alone” as just another play, for two reasons. First and foremost are the circumstances in which I saw it: an Off-Off Broadway production that went on when the blackout that followed Hurricane Sandy shut down most of the others. Its lead actor, Timothy McCown Reynolds, had walked from his home in Bushwick all the way to the theater in midtown Manhattan for the tech rehearsal the day before it opened. The night I attended “Alone,” I was nearly alone in the audience. How can one help but be impressed by the dedication of Rabbit Hole Ensemble?

But “Alone” is also difficult, because its writer and director, Edward Elefterion, the artistic director of Rabbit Hole Ensemble, claims that it is inspired by the life and work of August Strindberg and created in honor of the centennial of his death. Yet it is about as far from a bio-drama of the great Swedish dramatist as a play whose main character is named August Strindberg could be.

Full review of Alone

Sunday, November 4
Stunning New York Magazine cover for next week
Honey Kelly (@HBK112) #Sandy drove the World Series, Halloween, and the end of Daylight Savings time right out of my mind.
A rough week in a rough year….and we’re still here.

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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