FRONT of HOUSE — November 2012
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“Frankenstorm” Shuts Broadway, Crane Haunts Carnegie, Benefit Concert Raises $23M

NEW YORK — With tropical/winter hybrid storm Sandy inundating NYC mass transit with a surge of seawater, the Broadway League, representing 40 theaters in the city, opted to pull the plug on performances Tuesday, Oct. 30, extending the shutdown that kept stages dark Sunday, Oct. 28 and Monday, Oct. 29.

Among the cancelled productions for all three days: Broadway’s The Book of Mormon, Once and Mama Mia! and of-Broadway shows including Stomp, Bad Jews, Disgraced and Golden Child.

The closings were not unprecedented — the threat posed by Hurricane Irene in August 2011, remembered now as largely a false alarm, also led to a near-total shutdown of Broadway productions, including Saturday shows. The only silver lining to Sandy’s much-bigger impact is that the storm closings included a Monday, when much of Broadway is dark anyway.

The storm, dubbed by some as “Frankenstorm” both for its freakish combination of tropical and winter storm elements and its late October arrival, created nightmarish scenarios for Halloween-themed events along with havoc for suppliers to the industry from Washington DC to Boston and extending as far inland as the Great Lakes.

Sandy’s reach extended even farther for anyone in the industry attempting to fly to the Northeast — more than 18,000 fights were reported cancelled.

While most of Broadway’s theatres reopened Oct. 31, Carnegie Hall was haunted by a ghoulish spectre left in Sandy’s wake — a broken and dangling rooftop crane atop a luxury high-rise building across the street.

City officials restricted access to the venue and cut of power as a safety precaution. By late Nov. 4, the damaged crane had been swiveled, lashed and secured sufficiently to re-open all but the northern lane of 57th Street.

But the combined effects of the storm and crane mishap forced Carnegie Hall to cancel, reschedule or relocate all of its planned performances from Oct. 28 to Nov. 7, including appearances by the Tokyo String Quartet, Jadranka Jovanovic, Idina Menzel, Lang Lang, Andrea Griminelli and the Mariinsky Orchestra with Valery Gergiev, among others.

A Red Cross fundraising benefit concert, Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together, featuring New Jersey’s Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, Staten Island native Christina Aguilera and Long Island native Billy Joel, among others, aired Nov. 2 at 8 pm (EST) on NBC-affliated stations, cable networks and websites. The telethon/webathon event raised close to $23 million in a four-hour span.
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