BULLETIN: Cabaret Side Man Cancel Perfs After Times Square Construction Accident

News   BULLETIN: Cabaret Side Man Cancel Perfs After Times Square Construction Accident
Things on New York's West 43rd Street got more like wartime Berlin July 21 than perhaps even Cabaret director Sam Mendes would have liked.

Things on New York's West 43rd Street got more like wartime Berlin July 21 than perhaps even Cabaret director Sam Mendes would have liked.

Mendes' "environmental" production of the musical canceled its July 21 evening performance plus the July 22 matinee and evening performances after a construction accident at an adjacent building spread debris over the surrounding area, including the southern end of Times Square, killing one and injuring 12.

Another Broadway production, Side Man, and an Off-Broadway production, You Never Can Tell -- both also coincidentally produced by Roundabout Theatre Company -- also canceled July 21 and 22 shows. Log in to Playbill On-Line hourly for further updates.

All other Broadway theatres remain open. But because most of Times Square remains closed to vehicular traffic Wednesday, July 22, theatregoers to any of the surrounding theatres should plan for delays.

At 8:30 AM July 21 a construction elevator on a high floor of the half-erected Conde Nast building on Broadway between 42nd and 43rd streets collapsed, causing the scaffolding on the outside of the structure to cascade down to the ground. The Hotel Woodstock across 43rd Street took the brunt of the collapse. Debris damaged the top two floors and killed one tenant, an 82-year-old woman. A total of 12 people were hurt by the falling steel and masonry. West 41st, 42nd, 43rd and 44th streets between Broadway and Fifth Avenue were barred to car and foot traffic. The downtown end of Times Square was closed to motor traffic, but the TKTS discount ticket booth at the uptown end of Times Square was open Tuesday.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, NY Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the cleanup will begin immediately, but 42nd, 43rd and 44th streets between Broadway and the Avenue of the Americas will remain closed to traffic for several days. Giuliani predicted traffic in the area would be "terrible."

There was no word on how this will affect Thursday performances of Cabaret, Sideman and You Never Can Tell.

Ragtime and The Lion King, which play on West 42nd Street on the far side of Broadway, gave performances Tuesday night, as did The Scarlet Pimpernel on the west side of Times Square at 44th Street. The 43rd Street entrance to the Ford Center was closed, however, and Ragtime audiences were being asked to enter on the 42nd Street side.

Cabaret plays at the Kit Kat Klub on West 43rd Street, directly next to the building where the collapse occurred. Wreckage on the Conde Nast building reportedly shifted during the night, so the block (and theatre) will remain closed to pedestrians Wednesday. Mayor Giuliani said the Kit Kat Klub (formerly Henry Miller's Theatre) is not damaged. Side Man and You Never Can Tell play at the Criterion Center on Broadway near 44th Street. The only other Broadway theatre located on the closed streets is the Belasco, which is currently dark.

The multi-story building, one of many which has gone up in the Times Square area in the past two years, has been under construction for more than a year. Built by the Durst Organization, it is to be the new headquarters of publisher Conde Nast. Mayor Giuliani confirmed a report that just before the construction elevator began to sway, a workman radioed down to the ground, thus allowing the street to be cleared of people before the elevator fell. The accident is the third the site has seen in the past seven months, including an incident in which a worker was crushed by a hoist. A call to the Durst Organization was not returned.

A spokesman for Tishman Construction said the clean-up procedure would involve the wrapping of the remaining scaffolding on the building. The scaffolding itself in no longer in danger of falling, he said, but the various work materials on the structure1s many levels may become loose and drop to the ground. Workers will then bring in a crane and remove the materials.

Visitors to the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Cabaret are familiar with the Durst development. For months, audience members have had to travel under wooden construction tunnels to reach the Kit Kat Klub, the 43rd Street theatre where the show is performed.

The accident is not the first Broadway has seen since the Times Square development boom began a few years ago. At the end of 1997, hours before the traditional Time Square New Year's Eve celebration, the old Selwyn Building on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues suddenly collapsed into a heap of rubble. The debris was quickly hauled off before the holiday crowds descended on the area.

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