Before the officially announced rain delay, celebrities were braving the elements to catch the opening night performance of the Public Theatre's starry Seagull in Central Park Aug. 12. Among them were Meg Ryan, Macaulay Culkin, Diane Sawyer, Carrie Fisher and (pictured) "Sex and the City"'s Kristin Davis, Filmdom's Jennifer Grey (daughter of theatre legend Joel) and actor and screenwriter Clark Gregg ("What Lies Beneath").
The Public Theater cancelled the outdoor Delacorte Theatre performance at about 9 PM after 30 minutes of interaction between friends, family and lovers — played by Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Marcia Gay Harden, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman and others — on a soggy Russian estate in August. Citing danger to the actors, the Public’s stage management interrupted a scene just pages before the end of the first act of the four-act comedy. The intermission would have come after Act Two. The performance was interrupted earlier, about 10 minutes in, during a downpour. The moment Walken and Hoffman left the stage in the first stoppage, as if by miracle, the rain stopped immediately and the audience called for the actors to return. Stage hands swabbed the stage and the performance began anew, with extra energy from the celebrity-spiked crowd, who had hidden under umbrellas before the show and pulled them out again during the brief interval.
When Streep, as the celebrated actress Arkadina, made her entrance after the performance began again, she held her hands out to the sky as if to see if the rain had stopped. Thunder, lightning and a heavy downpour followed within 15 minutes. After the second stoppage, the hopeful audience waited 10 minutes before the show was completely called off at about 9 PM.
Ticket-holders for the opening night performance will be able to attend The Seagull the week of Aug. 21 to make up for the rain delay.