Despite Hurricane Floyd's tri-state assault yesterday, which packed rain and wind that delayed trains, closed bridges and schools, and threatened to disrupt theatre schedules, the Broadway shows went on. No major performances were reported canceled. Estimates of the hurricane's hit at Broadway box offices, and whether attendance was seriously affected, could come as early as next Tuesday when the League of American Theatres and Producers releases its weekly box totals.
According to Equity, everyone scheduled for theatre work showed up, with relatively minor exceptions.
In fact, one music enthusiast used the storm to his advantage. "Natural disasters can be an entertainment bonus in the city," the Lincoln Center patron told Playbill On-Line. "Most times you find that you can walk right in to a show. We picked Wynton Marsalis and walked up to the box office at 7:55 PM, and sat in Row N, in the center of the orchestra -- and that was opening night for Jazz at Lincoln Center."
Conversely, Peter Entin at the Shubert Organization told Playbill On-Line yesterday about contingency plans for those patrons who just can't make a show.
"People should call (212) 239-6210, which is our customer service line'" Entin said. Shubert deals with such requests "past date," meaning that patrons who are unable to see a show for unavoidable reasons, such as truly inclement weather, can call to arrange to see the show at another time, according to ticket availability.
Close by the theatre district, the Alliance Capital Building at 1345 Sixth Avenue near the corner of W. 55 St. lost either a pane of glass or some other portion of its N/NE facade on Sept. 17, due to high winds. The piece of the building crashed on the street. As of mid afternoon Sept. 17, W. 55 St. was still closed by police between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. City Center, which was doing steady walk-up business at its box office Sept. 17, told Playbill On-Line that the street closure was insignificant because their season doesn't even begin until next week.
Elsewhere, in the general vicinity of Times Square, a faulty electrical switch in a Con Ed transformer blew in the sub-basement at 1484 Broadway Sept. 16, just as the storm was hitting NYC. Choking smoke forced the evacuation of the building and the one-alarm blaze tied up traffic for close to two hours.
-- By Murdoch McBride