A burst pipe that wiped out 30 percent of the inventory at New York's Drama Book Shop has turned into a windfall for the Tony-winning theatre landmark after Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda appealed to the public to rush to the aid of the still-open retailer in person and online.
"I'm just stunned," said store vice president Allen Hubby. "Business is up 50 percent in-store and mail orders are up 200 percent, all because of Lin-Manuel."
The problem began Presidents' Day Weekend when single-digit temperatures apparently caused a pipe to burst on the third floor of the building that contains the book shop. Cascading water damaged the floor above the shop, then poured through the ceiling, wiping out the entire section of the store with advice for professional actors, "one of our busiest sections," Hubby said.
Luckily the playscript section suffered the least damage, he said. A lot of the damage is covered by insurance, but Hubby said it may take months to collect. Meanwhile, the store has to restock the lost inventory and repair physical damage.
The store's website, DramaBookShop.com, described the damage as "extensive." A video shows part of the store as empty shelves and part of the store still operating normally.
Miranda used his weekly Ham4Ham online concert event (see below) to appeal to theatre lovers to help the shop. Miranda said in the video that he wrote part of his Tony-winning musical In the Heights in the offices beneath the shop, located on West 40th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.
In the video, Miranda shows off his purchases and urges theatre lovers to patronize the store, which has operated at various midtown locations since 1917.
Hubby said business has shot up since the Feb. 20 appeal. The most-ordered item is Miranda's own book about the creation of Hamilton, which is not scheduled for publication until April. Hubby said, "We have 200 orders for the book as of now. We've never had 200 orders for anything!"
There also have been some individual donations. He said Fun Home composer Jeanine Tesori donated $2,500 to the shop.
Another important donation: the nightclub Feinstein's/54 Below donated its stage for the 7 PM March 26 show so the Drama Book Shop could organize a fundraising concert. Tickets are now on sale at the Feinstein's/54 Below website.
Store hours are 10 AM to 7 PM Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday; 10 AM to 8 PM Thursday; and noon to 6 PM Sunday.
Here is Lin-Manuel Miranda's video appeal: