Broadway Back on Full Schedule as 'Sandy Specials' Proliferate
Tough-ticket hits like "The Book of Mormon" are sold out as always, but many shows are offering special post-hurricane deals to lure patrons while NYC transport remains patchy.
NEW YORK -- Lingering transport difficulties in the wake of Hurricane Sandy don't mean that tickets for The Book of Mormon have miraculously become available. But elsewhere, "Sandy deals" are cropping up for shows anticipating a slow return to operations in a city still recovering after Monday's big storm.
While most Broadway shows were going back on the boards Wednesday evening, even the few holdouts will return to their regular performance schedules on Thursday Nov. 1.
"The show must go on, and Broadway shows are doing just that," said Broadway League executive director Charlotte St. Martin. "As of tomorrow, all Broadway shows are playing as scheduled."
Most productions will be dealing with heavy cancellations from ticket-holders unable to reach the theaters. But the hoards of tourists stuck in midtown hotels, as well as New Yorkers with cabin fever, are expected to pick up many of those returns.
However, the perennially sold-out Mormon remains a tough ticket as always. Returned seats for the Wednesday evening show -- the first performance after the three-day Sandy shutdown -- reportedly were snapped up instantly by theatergoers on the show's ever-present cancellation line.
The Times Square TKTS booth was fully functional again on Wednesday selling discounted tickets, and many shows were offering special deals at the theater box office.
The Performers, a new comedy set against the backdrop of the adult film industry, was among the first to offer a "Sandy Special," selling best available seats for Wednesday and Thursday evening performances at just $29.50. That's a steal compared to the regular preview price of $112. Written by David West Read, the show stars Cheyenne Jackson, Ari Graynor, Alicia Silverstone, Daniel Breaker and Henry Winkler. It officially opens on Nov. 14.
Other shows offering special hurricane deals include the Charlie Chaplin biomusical Chaplin, which has announced a two-for-one deal through Thursday Nov. 8. The Ibsen revival, An Enemy of the People, is selling seats at $27 for Wednesday night, while the Gershwin musical Nice Work If You Can Get It, starring Matthew Broderick, has $37 seats for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Rock of Ages has added an unscheduled Halloween performance Wednesday night and is offering a 50% discount off its standard top ticket price at the box office.
While waiting for city subways to resume service, Roundabout Theatre Company announced a "Hurricane Subway Special" to its shows on Wednesday. With presentation of a Metro Card, customers can purchase $20 tickets to Broadway productions Cyrano de Bergerac and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and to the Off Broadway play If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
Originally scheduled to begin previews on Saturday, the new Theresa Rebeck comedy starring Katie Holmes, Dead Accounts, will now have its first performance on Monday Nov. 5. But the official opening night of The Heiress, with Jessica Chastain, Dan Stevens and David Strathairn, will go ahead as planned on Thursday.
Off Broadway, the impact of Hurricane Sandy seems likely to linger on. Uptown theaters have been able to resume performances, with many of them also offering deep discounts. But large stretches of downtown Manhattan remain dark, with no clear indication available of when power will return.
Top-tier Off Broadway institutions such as the Public Theater, Atlantic Theatre Company and the Vineyard Theatre are all without power, forcing them to cancel performances until further notice.
The Vineyard's new play Checkers, with Anthony LaPaglia and Kathryn Erbe as Richard and Pat Nixon, has postponed its scheduled Wednesday opening indefinitely. Scheduled press performances of the Classic Stage Company production of Chekhov's Ivanov, with Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance and Joely Richardson, also have been pushed back.
With many observers skeptical about power being restored before the weekend, those and other Off Broadway productions are likely to miss a full week of performances -- more in cases where theaters have experienced flooding. While financial estimates have not yet been made, the loss of revenue across the New York theater industry is expected to be significant.