The tornadoes that cut a swath through Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas April 16 sent hundreds of Nashville residents scurrying for cover within the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.
While the performance space itself was largely undamaged, many of the windows of an office building above TPAC were shattered. The building's workers were evacuated and took refuge in the Center's Jackson, Polk, and Johnson theatres, where they sat huddled for the next hour.
The mayor of Nashville has closed the city, calling it unsafe. TPAC General Manager and Vice-president Ted DeDee said that the TPAC was cancelling the April 17 Nashville Ballet performance of Swan Lake. The Ballet hoped to make up for the lost performance by adding a 2 PM show on Sunday, April 19. TPAC plans to go ahead as scheduled with the Ballet's two scheduled Saturday performance. They might also be cancelled, however, if the mayor decides Nashville should remain off-limits. Scores of Nashville residents were injured by the tornados. Government offices and school have been closed, as have many businesses, and roads -- strewn with broken glass -- are open to only essential traffic.
Jenny Elliot of the Tennessee Repertory Theatre said that the company's office and rehearsal space, while lies two miles south of Nashville, was not touched by the storm. TRT performs out of the Polk Theatre.
-- By Robert Simonson