Debbie Reynolds in "Irene". Image via YouTube.
Hurricane Irene, like any diva with big lungs and a keen eye, has set her sights on Broadway and is currently due to hit New York for a Sunday matinee. As of this post, there are no show cancellations but keep an eye on The Broadway League’s website for current weather alerts. (I’ll update this story if I hear any specifics.)
[UPDATE 1:39pm: The New York International Fringe Festival has canceled all events for Sunday, August 28. Book of Mormon Actor's Fund performance postponed. NY Times reporting that mass transit system will shut down at noon on Saturday.]
[UPDATE 4:00pm: War Horse at Lincoln Center and Disney Theatricals have canceled Broadway shows for Saturday and Sunday. A number of Off-Broadway houses are following suit. Check in with your theater if you are holding tickets. I expect most of the shows will now do the same.]
[UPDATE 4:24pm: Broadway.com is reporting that ALL Broadway performances are canceled for Saturday and Sunday.]
And what will it look like if this headline maker decides to take New York by storm? Luckily, history can give us a clue. The last time Irene hit the Great White Way, she was a perky whirlwind played by Debbie Reynolds making her 1973 Broadway debut. The show overcame bad out-of-town reviews and cast changes to become a sizable hit. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself.
As a sort of anti-rain dance, let’s watch Debbie singing her show biz heart out in a song from her Irene…
"The Tenant." Photo by Emily Fishbaine.
It’s been a week of spooky goings on around the theater world this week, so let’s check up on the stories that went bump (and grind) in the night.
- Have you ever wanted to veer away from a film’s main plot and follow a minor character as they disappear out of the protagonist’s life? That’s the experience you get from Woodshed Collective’s The Tenant, a new site-specific work which opened Wednesday night. Based on the same novella that inspired the Roman Polanski film, the multiple, simultaneous story lines tumble, screech and race around a Parisian apartment building (actually, the very moody West Park Presbyterian Church parish house) as a new guy in town is slowly driven insane by his decidedly odd neighbors. While the scrappy production may lack truly detailed physical design and coherent narrative drive, there is much fun to be had making split second decisions to follow an intriguing character, opening doors to random scenes in progress, or simply hiding in a room until something truly unsettling stumbles in after you. (Among the sights that will stick with me is a disturbing mother/daughter battle between Judith Greentree & Jocelyn Kuritsky and the closet popping transformation of inspired leading man Michael Crane.) Tickets are free though currently sold out (other than for a pricey benefit performance) but there is a nightly waiting list for cancelations.
- Speaking of creepy (and kooky, mysterious, and spooky), producers of the Broadway production of The Addams Family made a snap (snap) judgement and announced they will be closing the musical at the end of the year. Never fear, though, a national tour is slated to head out on the road in September.
- A true legend, Judy Garland, is being brought back to life on Broadway in the Olivier Award-winning play End of the Rainbow. The acclaimed London star Tracie Bennett will travel with the show across the pond, first to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and finally to New York March 19, 2012.
- Finally, we sadly must note the passing of the legendary Price Berkley, founder of the Theatrical Index. He turned his love of theater into an indispensable industry newsletter that every power broker on Broadway consulted. As Rick Miramontez, President of the theatrical PR firm O&M Co, put it, “Price revolutionized the way show business gets done. To paraphrase the great Nancy Coyne, all you need for success in this town is a telephone, a sharpened #2 pencil, and a Theatrical Index.”