It was New York's first transit strike since 1980, but you wouldn't know it from the theatre community's reaction. Not a single Broadway show went dark Tuesday night, and the two-show Wednesday in Dec. 21 went forward as scheduled. Primed by a newborn century that has already hit the city with terrorist attacks, a blackout and a blizzard, New York theatre people and theatregoers took it all in stride. Theatres set up cots for overnighting personnel. Chartered buses picked up some cast members. Others walked to work, car-pooled, rode bikes or boarded the still functioning New Jersey Transit, Amtrak or Long Island Railroad.
Alan Cohen, director of communications of the League of American Theatres and Producers, told Playbill.com Dec. 21 that attendance for shows on Dec. 20 "was pretty good overall with relatively low returns. There was good walk-up traffic, and there were no cast or crew problems. Shows took good care of their people, accommodating them with car and shuttle bus service."
"Most of the shows," Cohen continued, "reported pretty brisk business. There was only a two to three percent 'no-show' rate, which is only up about one percent for a Tuesday night." Cohen did say that the call volume for those interested in exchanging tickets for a different date has increased.
By Thursday afternoon, Dec. 22, the union told its workers to head back to the roads and tracks, as negotiations began anew. Reports had it taking 12-18 hours before everything was up to speed, leaving shoppers with the hope that they'd still have maybe one or two days before Christmas left to shop.
*** Trains stop, but the news doesn't. Not even theatre news.
Tony Award winners Katie Finneran and Denis O'Hare along with Logan Marshall-Green were announced for the upcoming world premiere presentation of Greg Kotis' new comedy Pig Farm directed by his Urinetown director John Rando for the Roundabout Theatre Company. In other Roundabout news, Cyndi Lauper was drafted to replace Edie Falco as Jenny in the upcoming production of Brecht and Weill's The Threepenny Opera. She joins a cast that already includes another pop star, Nellie McKay (sort of the Cyndi Lauper of her generation in her unusualness). Lincoln Center Theater, meanwhile, revealed that its spring 2006 revival of Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing! will star Ben Gazzara and Zoe Wanamaker.
And, finally, actor Jack Noseworthy got to go home for Christmas this year. That's the bright side of it, anyway. Noseworthy exited the role of Armand in the big new Elton John-Bernie Taupin musical Lestat, now playing in San Francisco—a show that only began performances Dec. 17. The official word from director Robert Jess Roth: "In the development of the show in San Francisco the creative team has decided to take the character of Armand, wonderfully played by Jack Noseworthy, in a new direction."
That's it for now. I wish all of you, gentle readers, a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanakkah, Happy Kwanzaa, a rousing Boxing Day—what have you! Just not the generic, safe "Happy Holidays." In the theatre, we make specific choices.