As the Northeast begins its recovery from Hurricane Irene’s weekend landfall, Broadway is getting back to business as usual.
The Great White Way went dark for the weekend as the city prepared for the approaching storm. But an updated weather alert from the Broadway League now confirms, “Broadway performances in NYC will play today [Monday, August 29] as scheduled.”
Today’s reopening affects a half-dozen Broadway productions. While a traditional Broadway calendar is dark on Mondays, an increasing number of shows have opted for alternate schedules that include Monday evening performances.
According to Playbill.com listings, Monday curtains are at 8 p.m. for musicals “Chicago,” “Mamma Mia!,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and “Rock of Ages.” Another tuner to go on tonight is “Hair,” which starts at 7 p.m. on Mondays.
Broadway productions that start their weeks with Tuesday or Wednesday performances are also expected to re-open as scheduled this week.
Broadway box offices must now try to recoup losses after the first shut-down since 2003, according to the Associated Press. The storm’s affect on New York City theatre will become clearer later when weekly box office numbers are released. During the previous seven-day reporting period, ending August 21, Broadway grossed more than $20 million and saw more than 217,000 attendees.
The Broadway League issued a press release announcing the cancellation of all weekend performances just before 6 p.m. on Friday, August 26. The League’s announcement followed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to shut down public transportation by noon Saturday, in advance of the storm.
“The safety and security of theatregoers and employees is everyone’s primary concern,” said Broadway League chairman Paul Libin in the cancellation statement. “As a result of the suspension of public transportation by government authorities in preparation of Hurricane Irene, all performances will be cancelled on Saturday, August 27th, and Sunday, August 28th.”
That announcement reversed an earlier statement from the Broadway League, released around 1:30 p.m. on Friday. At that time, productions were tentatively scheduled to stay open, so long as the safety of theatergoers and production crews was not a concern.
But a couple shows still issued separate statements Friday afternoon, regarding plans to go dark in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Disney productions “The Lion King” and “Mary Poppins” announced cancellations around 3 p.m., citing the severe weather.