Restoration of power aids return to normalcy

With power back in most of Manhattan and public transportation making strides toward resuming full service over the weekend, New York City’s film, TV and theater industries continued on the road to recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

Relief efforts swung into action led by NBCUniversal’s hastily organized “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together” telethon that aired Friday night across NBCU channels, HBO and a handful of other TV and radio outlets, raising nearly $23 million in pledges for the American Red Cross’ relief efforts related to the hurricane. The hourlong live telecast, hosted by “Today” anchor Matt Lauer, featured perfs by Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Steven Tyler, Sting, Jon Bon Jovi, Christina Aguilera and others. The Red Cross said the volume of Web, telephone and text donations spurred between 8 p.m.-midnight ET on Friday exceeded that of other Red Cross telethons during the past five years.

The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting was set to resume issuing permits Monday morning for filming at exterior locations across the five boroughs, though only on a case-by-case basis and not in any areas that had been severely affected by the storm.

In the immediate wake of the hurricane, the office had previously granted permits to productions only for filming on soundstages. A number of titles had already picked up shooting last week; since last Wednesday, TV series including “30 Rock,” “Elementary,” “The Good Wife” and “Blue Bloods” were all issued permits for indoor filming on stages.

The return of electricity over the weekend to lower Manhattan, which had been in the dark since the storm prompted power outages in wide swaths of the city, meant that cinemas also could get back up and running. By Saturday night, for instance, only a single AMC theater in Gotham had not yet reopened.

Meanwhile, downtown legit orgs could begin perfs again too. Although every Broadway show had returned to its regular performance schedule by last Thursday, a large number of Off Broadway spaces could not get back up and running until power was restored.

Among the higher-profile Off Broadway offerings to be suspended by the loss of power, the Vineyard Theater’s “Checkers” — the Nixon bio-drama by Douglas McGrath and starring Anthony LaPaglia — returned to the boards Sunday with a new opening set for Thursday. Ethan Hawke topliner “Ivanov” at Classic Stage Company, another downtown venue, resumed perfs Saturday, with its original Sunday opening shifted to Nov. 15. The Barrow Street Theater’s “Tribes,” the Atlantic’s “Harper Regan” and four different titles playing at the Public Theater’s multi-venue outpost also were among the shows getting back online over the weekend.

(Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.)

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