Among the 375,000 people ordered out of flood zones near water, where storm surge is expected to be high, are Tony Award-nominated actor Stephen Kunken (Enron), his director wife Jenn Thompson (TACT's Lost in Yonkers, The Eccentricities of a Nightingale) and their daughter Naomi, who live in Red Hook, Brooklyn. They said that they removed all lightweight objects from their patio and placed sandbags around their doors and windows. Their apartment is on the ground floor, within a mile of New York Harbour. The Kunken-Thompson family has retreated with their pets deeper into Brooklyn to stay with actor friends Mark Lotito (Jersey Boys) and Valerie Wright (Elf) and their kids. "The kids are 'picnicking' on the floor," Thompson said. Update: The Kunken-Thompsons learned late Monday that their home's lower level suffered serious flooding.
Librettist and Tony-nominated actor Hunter Foster (Little Shop of Horrors, Urinetown, The Hollow) and his actress wife Jennifer Cody "are sitting inside all day, probably watching 'Downton Abbey' — worried that Netflix [streaming] might get overloaded!," Foster said. "She is making soup and dog biscuits, and we have plenty of wine! And I'll maybe work a little on some lines for Inner Voices. If the lights go out, we may work on a little hand-to-hand combat to the death."
Stafford Arima, director of Off-Broadway Carrie and Altar Boyz, said that rehearsals for his next project, the Off-Broadway rock musical Bare, were canceled Monday. "So I am using this time to catch up on some pre-tech paperwork as we begin technical rehearsals at New World Stages in one week." Of his disaster readiness, he said, "Perhaps I'm in denial, but I only semi-prepped for the worst-case scenario. I do have some canned goods, water and non-perishables, but I didn't go into a frenzy and line-up at a grocery store with a basket filled with Chef Boyardee. If we lose power in the city, I have fully charged my iPod so I can use this time to listen to a couple of new albums, including Streisand's 'Release Me.' So many of my friends and colleagues who live in far-more perilous areas surrounding Manhattan have more to be concerned than I do; my prayers go out to them and to every one who will be up against Mother Nature."
Actress Marya Grandy found herself at loose ends Sunday night when the evening performance of her show, Closer Than Ever by York Theatre Company, was canceled due to weather. "Instead of doing a Sunday night show, I had a glass of wine and many laughs with my divine co-star Anika Larsen. After that, I headed home to the Lower East Side, immediately changed into sweatpants, and I made a salad the size of a small satellite (my husband refers to it as a 'GrandyBowl'). To cap off the evening, I cozied up with my laptop and HBO Go. [On Monday]: see above, unless I lose power, in which case I will go to my friends' apartment, and, well...see above."
When Playbill reached out separately to producer Hal Luftig and director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell, it turns out they were on really high ground — Chicago. "I am weathering the storm in Chicago where Kinky Boots completes its out of town tryout on Sunday [Nov. 4]," Luftig said. Mitchell added, "I'm in a safe and kinky place, Chicago! Out of town tryout with Kinky Boots! We'll show Sandy a thing or two!"
Kathy Voytko (Evita for Hal Prince's last national tour and a Next to Normal standby on Broadway), who is married to actor John Cudia (The Phantom of the Opera), told Playbill.com, "We live 15 miles west of midtown Manhattan in New Jersey, and the saddest part of our hurricane prep was taking down the Halloween decorations in our yard. My three-year-old was disappointed that the 'spooky cemetery' had to come inside. Styrofoam headstones, plastic hands and vampire heads are no match for these winds. Our last run to Costco has us stocked with copious amounts of coffee, some canned goods, batteries, and an enormous tub of animal crackers. You know, the essentials."
Marty Cooper, a Broadway usher whose home-base theatre is the Shubert, where Matilda will play starting in 2013, is laying low in his home in Sunnyside, Queens. He said, "Sunday, the eve of the great storm, we were to have a matinee and an evening show [of The Performers, where he is subbing]. The evening was canceled as the mayor shut down the transit system! With that, I vowed not to stick my head outside until things subside. My wife, fortunately, is recently retired, so we could stay safely indoors. I hope that my community of friends and co-workers could do the same! If things are back up Tuesday, I will be back at work. Until then, stay safe and warm, guys!"
|photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Actor Will Rogers (NYSF's As You Like It) has a rain-day off from rehearsal of McNally's Golden Age. He said, "I'm watching the images on NY1 of the river already swelling. I'm wondering if I'm as prepared as I should be — though maps I've seen have my area of Astoria in a relatively safe zone. Me and my roommates are planning on staying in and watching movies, and catching up on sleep and reading. I bought PB & J fixings, a flashlight and bottled water. That's enough, right? Hoping gas and power stay on so I can make a giant spaghetti dinner tonight."
Enid Graham, the Tony nominee of Honour who recently joined the cast of Roundabout Theatre Company's If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, is with actor-husband Robert Sella (Side Man, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and their three sons, in upper Manhattan. She said, "I am home with my family in Washington Heights — luckily the highest natural point in Manhattan! —with a roast in the crock pot, [and we're] decorating wizard hats for little-boy Halloween costumes. We went to a wedding last night for a friend from Juilliard on the lower east side, and took the last or almost the last subway home. Our poor friends had to evacuate their Red Hook apartment on their wedding day, bring their dog to the ceremony and float around (hopefully not literally!) at friends' houses until they can begin their delayed honeymoon…."
Roger DeWitt, an actor who appeared in Off-Broadway's Adding Machine musical and The Phantom of the Opera, said, "I am hunkered down in the West Village with my husband and our Norwich Terrier Buster. We have food, water, wine and cocktails. Should we lose power, I have downloaded three movies to the iPad and candles to read by. Glad we are all together." Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, of Broadway's A Little Night Music, is currently in windswept Connecticut. He said, "Fortunately, I am working at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT. Unfortunately, the hurricane is supposed to hit really hard here and we could possibly lose power for a week. So we have been stocking up on food, water, candles, gas for our cars, etc. Every surrounding store for miles is sold out of D batteries, so I guess our house flashlight is out of the question. Whoops. All of the water for the town is on an electrical pump, so if we lose power, we don't have running water. I can't imagine. Thank goodness we have the next two days off, and even without power in Connecticut, the Opera House has a generator, so Something's Afoot will continue on with one person in the audience, or 398."
Eric Schaeffer, artistic director of the Tony Award-honored Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, was feeling the storm in the DC area on Monday afternoon. "Our wind has really kicked in," he said. "The lights just flashed here in DC, so Sandy is starting to bear down. I went into the theatre this morning for some conference calls but am back home, hunkered down with a stocked bar, a reading-pile of scripts and a fire. So it's actually looking to be a productive day as long as no trees fall down on my roof. And my neighbor and I are making hourly outdoor trips to the storm drain to clear the leaves so we don't get flooded. Rainy days and Mondays..."
Scott M. Ellis, company manager and associate general manager of Broadway's Elf, said, "Today was supposed to be our first day on stage with the cast of Elf over at the Hirschfeld Theatre, but I guess Sandy felt otherwise. I've made enough turkey chili and jalapeño cheese cornbread to get me through to next week, and have turned my home into a temporary-housing shelter. My good friend Bill Gregory from San Francisco is staying with me, as his plans to attend a Baltimore conference have been derailed."
|photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Tony-nominated actress Celia Keenan-Bolger (Spelling Bee, Peter and the Starcatcher), said, "My husband John Ellison Conlee has been in tech for the new musical Murder Ballad at MTC and we've barely gotten to see each other these past weeks. We are both so excited to spend the day together in our apartment. I think we are going to watch Mike Birbiglia's movie 'Sleepwalk With Me,' and then make some calls to voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania for President Obama. Last year we spent Hurricane Irene upstate with our friends Jason Danieley and Marin Mazzie. We discovered that cocktail hour really helps you get through a storm, so there will probably be some of that as well. I'm grateful for a day like this but I also realize this storm is a big deal and I hope it doesn't cause too much damage or pain."
Actor Andrew Keenan-Bolger, "Crutchie" of Broadway's Newsies, said, "I'm spending my free time on BarackObama.com using the dashboard to make calls to Ohio and Pennsylvania, gathering information and reminding people to vote on Nov. 6."
Actress Nikka Graff Lanzarone, of Broadway's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Paper Mill Playhouse's A Chorus Line, said, "The hurricane actually coincided with my post-show nesting tendencies. I really have to do that deep-clean that my apartment so desperately deserves. Maybe some laundry! Otherwise, I'm gonna hang with my cat and my neighbors, hope the power doesn't go out, maybe cook a little (okay, microwave the frozen foods), and be grateful for the chance to rest my body. There are copious amounts of cheese and wine, a well-stocked Netflix queue, many episodes of 'This American Life' and a few back issues of Vogue — and batteries, even though I realized I don't have any battery-operated devices."
Anne L. Nathan, who plays the passionate Czech mama in Broadway's Once, said, "With the exception of the 'stir crazy' break I'm taking right now to visit with my friend Merri Sugarman, at her place a few blocks away, I will be hunkering down at my apartment, solo. This will be my day: couch, coffee, changing to wine in the evening, 'Nashville,' a possible re-reading of 'The Agony and the Ecstasy,' learning a new song on my new ukulele and...that is it. Last night I had Fig Newtons, but that turned out to be a terrible idea as I ate half the box."
|photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Ruth E. Sternberg, production executive at The Public Theater, and her talent-agent partner Liz Rosier, are sticking to their home in Yonkers, just north of Manhattan. Sternberg said, "Liz and I and our dog Scout are happily hunkered down. So far so good. We've been checking on our elderly neighbors, the Diet Coke stock is ample for a week or so. The house is very clean, laundry done and Liz's hair blown dry — attempting to do chores that require power first. We are safe and grateful!"
Actor Matt Doyle, of Broadway's War Horse, Bye Bye Birdie, Spring Awakening, is riding out the storm at his boyfriend's apartment. "His shows were canceled and the rehearsals for the workshop I'm working on are canceled, as well," Doyle said. "So far we've watched 'Hocus Pocus' and 'Breakfast Club.' We're making mimosas and of course, hurricanes. Some of his closest friends are over, as well. We walked down to the water earlier. It was already pretty rough. Now it's time to snuggle up with the dogs and stay safe inside for the night."
Actress Hannah Elless, of Broadway's Godspell and Off-Broadway's The Other Josh Cohen, said, "Monday is my normal day off and when I usually do my grocery shopping anyway. It's worth noting that I'm not from the East Coast, so Sandy is my very first hurricane. I guess New York beat me to the stores. Wish me luck! They're aren't a lot of recipes involving both Cheez-Its and chocolate chips. Happy Hurrication!"
Actress Courtney Reed, of Broadway's In the Heights, said, "Sandy gave me an extra day to memorize my sides! So I'm being a good girl. Just me, my PJ's, hot tea, Hello Kitty and my sides before chillin' with my roomie and neighbors while they cook baked ziti and watch a horror flick. I'm not mad about it."
Matt Blank, Michael Gioia and Adam Hetrick contributed reporting.
(Kenneth Jones is holed up with his actor-playwright partner Jeff Talbott and their cat in their Sunnyside, Queens, apartment. The local Key Food nearby looked like the helicopter scene from Miss Saigon on Sunday night. No bread left on the shelves. Follow him on Twitter @PlaybillKenneth.)