Disappointed, grumpy and wet after the cancellation of the Aug. 12 Central Park performance of The Seagull, members of the audience who waited in line for hours to get into the free, hot-ticket Public Theater staging held onto the hope that they would be readmitted at a future performance.
That was the promise made over the loudspeaker after pouring rain scuttled the Sunday show 30 minutes into the performance of the Chekhov revival. The next day, however, The Public said per its policy people would not be rescheduled. However, it was learned that VIP's in attendance would be accommodated, which naturally made the civilians sour. They grumbled publicly.
On Aug. 15, however, The Public decided since a verbal raincheck promise had been made at the show, the ticketholders would be able to trade in their stubs for future shows.
The Public statement reads: "Members of the Sunday, Aug. 12 audience of The Seagull who obtained their tickets by waiting in line and who were rained out, will be given the opportunity to see the production during the final week of performances. Anyone who was in attendance on Sunday, Aug. 12 should come to The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street on Monday, August 20 between 1 P.M. and 3 P.M. with their ticket stub and they will be given a replacement ticket to a performance between Aug. 21-26. The policy of Shakespeare in Central Park is that tickets are good for the day of issue only. However, an announcement was made after the Sunday, Aug. 12 opening night performance was cancelled due to rain, stating the evening would be re-scheduled. Although it is impossible to re-schedule the opening on one other specific night, The Public Theater will make a block of tickets available to re-schedule attendees of that evening's performance over the course of the six final performances. The rescheduling of the tickets from that performance is a one-time exception and does not change the rain policy that has been in effect."
Tickets to The Seagull — the hottest staging in Manhattan at the moment due to its starry cast directed by Mike Nichols — continue to be free and available on the day of the performance (two per person) at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park beginning at 1 P.M. and at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, 1-3 PM. People have camped out overnight for the coveted tickets, which offer entry to the outdoor staging of the Chekhov classic starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Natalie Portman, John Goodman, Marcia Gay Harden, Stephen Spinella and Christopher Walken.
Reviews ranged from negative to mixed to a rave, and The Public is now epxloring a limited commercial run on Broadway for fall.
Those attending any future performances of the show are still at the mercy of Mother Nature: If rain cancels a show, ticketholders are out of luck and will have to simply imagine the sunny side of the Streep.
— By Kenneth Jones