Broadway will be back in full force by Thursday, predicts Broadway League Executive Director Charlotte St. Martin. Though the Great White Way stayed dark from Sunday night through Tuesday while New York City braced for Hurricane Sandy, the theater district believes that the time has come to turn on the marquee lights.
"There is a tradition on Broadway that the show must go on," St. Martin told TheWrap. "It goes to the core of our actors, producers, stage hands and the people who work on Broadway. It's a century old, and it's what we've always done."
Although the city is still clearing through the debris left by the devastating super storm, St. Martin said that Broadway has not suffered from any of New York's widespread power outages. She added that she believes that the theater business has a civic duty to be up and running as soon as possible after a tragedy, noting that performances resumed two days after the 9/11 attacks at the request of then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
To that end, only two productions will remain dark Wednesday night -- "Mary Poppins" and "The Lion King" -- and that was because producers did not reach enough members of the cast and crew by phone Tuesday to be certain they had a big enough team to mount the major musical productions. Three other shows -- "Evita," "Jersey Boys" and "Scandalous" -- called off their matinees, but not their evening performances.
St. Martin said she has not heard reports from Wednesday's matinees, but was confident that New York City's flooded subway system had not prevented crew members and cast from making it to the theater in time.
"We would not be bringing shows back, if we were not positive critical people will be there," she said. "There may not be as many ushers as usual, but we're all good at finding our own seats, and we would not go on if there were any safety issues."
Broadway theaters will refund or exchange tickets for people who cannot make the shows on account of the weather, St. Martin said. She noted, however, that while many flights and trains have been canceled, preventing out-of-town visitors from catching shows they bought tickets for in advance, there are many tourists who are stuck in the city and would welcome the diversion. The same need for levity applies to the storm-shocked city dwellers, she said.
"This has nothing to do with greed and everything to do with the spirit of Broadway," St. Martin said. "We are here to serve New York and to provide escape from tragedy, even if it's just for a few hours."