×

Broadway, movie theaters go into hurricane mode

Manhattan residents evacuate ahead of Sandy's arrival

Broadway and most Gotham venues, showbiz congloms from Sony to Viacom and movie theaters closed their doors Sunday as subways, buses and trains ground to a halt and a tense city awaited perilous winds and lashing rain from Hurricane Sandy, expected to smash the area overnight and linger for several days with waves up to 20 feet high and winds gusting up to 70 miles an hour — as high as 90 mph between some New York City skyscrapers.

Broadway wasn’t big enough for two Sandys, with every production on the boards — including the current revival of “Annie,” which famously co-stars a dog named Sandy — announcing they would cancel all performances scheduled for Sunday night and Monday night, concurrent with the plan for the public transportation shutdown.

The strongest winds are expected Monday afternoon and night. If they rise too high the city may close Manhattan’s bridges and tunnels.

Many movie theaters, including the AMC circuit, closed early Sunday as well. Filming in and around the city has halted, and Focus Features is said to have suspended the New York City premiere of “Anna Karenina” Tuesday.

The city subway, which takes eight to ten hours to shut down, will be offline starting 7 pm EST Sunday evening. It’s the nation’s busiest system with about 4.3 million passengers a day.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered mandatory evacuation of 375,000 residents in low-lying areas around the toe of Manhattan. The zone most at risk of flooding includes Battery Park City, much of the Financial District and parts of Tribeca, Chinatown and the East Village. It extends up to Hell’s Kitchen and Murray Hill along Manhattan’s riverfronts. Sections of Brooklyn and Queens, in particular Coney Island and the Rockaways, are also emptying out.

“As a result of the suspension of public transportation by government authorities in preparation for the incoming storm, all Broadway performances in NYC on Sunday evening, October 28th and Monday evening, October 29th are canceled. All Sunday matinees are playing as scheduled,” said the website Broadway League Sunday afternoon.

Refunds would be available through ticketbuyers’ purchase outlets, according to the Broadway League, the trade association of legit producers and presents. Telecharge and Ticketmaster, the two major Rialto ticket outlets, would process refunds in seven to 10 days, the League said, and in the case of the three cancelled performances from Disney Theatrical Prods. — “Mary Poppins” and “The Lion King” on Sunday evening and “Newsies” Monday night — many of those refunds had already been completed, according to Disney’s legit arm.

The darkening of all shows on the Rialto, a step only rarely taken due to severe weather, had been almost unprecedented two years ago, when the Main Stem shut down for two days in anticipation of Hurricane Irene. The second time around, it all felt a bit more familiar.

In 2011, Irene shuttered the Rialto for all Saturday and Sunday perfs one weekend in August. This year, the shutdown as scheduled should be somewhat less serious at the box office, with the majority of weekend perfs out of the way by Sunday evening and fewer shows skedded to play Monday nights, which until recently had been Broadway’s traditionally universal day of rest.

Other legit events — such the kudo ceremony for the Steinberg Playwright Award, planned for Monday night — and performing arts events, including all programming at Carnegie Hall — also were cancelled or postponed.Singer Brandi Carlile has suspended Beacon Theater concerts that were scheduled for Sunday and Monday evenings and clubs around the city were closed.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” is still set to film at the Brooklyn Academy of Music this week despite Sandy, using back-up generators in case of power failure and flying staff and crew in early.

Popular on Variety

More Legit

  • Lungs review

    London Theater Review: 'Lungs' Starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith

    What, to ask the perennial theatergoer’s question, is Duncan Macmillan’s “Lungs” about? It’s about climate change, isn’t it? No, it’s a play about deciding whether to have a baby. Actually, like his earlier success “People, Places, Things,” in which Macmillan balanced a personal story with a depiction of addiction, it’s a juggling of two subjects [...]

  • Bella Bella review

    Off Broadway Review: Harvey Fierstein's 'Bella Bella'

    Harvey Fierstein is one busy guy. A Broadway institution with four Tony Awards for acting (“Torch Song Trilogy,” “Hairspray”) and playwriting (“Torch Song Trilogy,” “La Cage aux Folles”), he has also written everything from teleplays (“The Wiz Live!”, “Hairspray Live!”) to an award-winning children’s book, “The Sissy Duckling.” His movie work includes “Mrs. Doubtfire” and [...]

  • Soft Power Jeanine Tesori

    Listen: Jeanine Tesori and the 'Soft Power' of Musicals to Change Minds

    The title of “Soft Power,” the new play-cum-musical by playwright David Henry Hwang and composer Jeanine Tesori, refers to cultural influence — in this case the cultural influence of America on China, and of China on the U.S. According to Tesori, the term might also describe the force that musical theater itself can exert in [...]

  • Jane Alexander James Cromwell

    Jane Alexander, James Cromwell to Star in Broadway's 'Grand Horizons'

    Jane Alexander and James Cromwell will head up the Broadway cast of Bess Wohl’s “Grand Horizons.” The two Oscar nominees will star as Bill and Nancy, a couple whose five-decade-long relationship unravels when they move to a retirement community. After Nancy decides she wants a divorce, her family life is sent into disarray. The show [...]

  • Chasing Rainbows review

    New Jersey Theater Review: Judy Garland Bio 'Chasing Rainbows'

    Judy Garland’s voice was unparalleled and rich, an emotive contralto that lasted long into her later years with a loud and winning showiness to go with its melodramatic nuances. But that voice concealed a troubled backstory, as the woman born Frances Ethel Gumm toted the baggage of a closeted gay father, an ugly duckling’s insecurity [...]

  • Broadway Review: David Byrne's 'American Utopia'

    Broadway Review: David Byrne's 'American Utopia'

    One constant of David Byrne’s long and prolific career is his ability to grow a seemingly simple idea into something brilliant, whether it’s the melody of “Road to Nowhere” or the concept of the “Stop Making Sense” tour some 36 years ago, where the premise of bringing out nine musicians, one at a time per [...]

  • The Sound Inside review

    Broadway Review: 'The Sound Inside' Starring Mary-Louise Parker

    Mary-Louise Parker will take your breath away with her deeply felt and sensitively drawn portrait of a tenured Yale professor who treasures great literature, but has made no room in her life for someone to share that love with. The other thesp in this two-hander is Will Hochman, endearing in the supportive role of a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content