Most Broadway shows to resume today, as downtown theaters struggle

Philip Boroff, Bloomberg News, 10/30/12

Most Broadway shows will resume matinee and evening performances on Wednesday. The exceptions are Evita, The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Scandalous. Jersey Boys, one of Broadway's biggest hits,[canceled its matinee and] had not decided whether to go ahead with [its evening performance.] Away from Times Square, the picture is gloomier. Downtown's off-Broadway theaters remain crippled by a power outage and some flooding in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Staff members at MCC Theater don't know when or even if their show will continue at the Lortel Theatre in Greenwich Village. The Lortel, which MCC rents for the Stephen Belber drama Don't Go Gentle, is without power. Another, non-MCC show has rented the venue after the scheduled Nov. 4 close. "For a not-for-profit theater, losing a week of box-office is a killer," said Bernard Telsey, MCC co- artistic director. "When you only do a six-week run, that's a sixth of box office." Telsey said seeing a show isn't an immediate priority for New Yorkers grappling with a flooded subway system and spotty electricity: "Who's planning to go to the theater?" Even when power returns, the storm has created huge challenges. George Forbes of the Lucille Lortel Theatre Foundation said many Broadway productions can afford car services for actors who may be stranded because of the subway shutdown. Not so for off-Broadway companies: "Even if you get the audience to the theater, you might not get the performers."


Commentary: Let's support all theaters, not just Broadway, after the storm

Howard Sherman, Huffington Post, 10/30/12

Life and safety are most important. A place to live comes next. Then jobs, business, livelihoods. In the wake of the storm, these are the priorities. But it's my nature to turn to thoughts theatrical, and there's no question that every manner of live performance in the affected areas will feel a strong and lingering impact in the days and weeks -- perhaps months -- to come. Even venues that were spared any direct damage will have to grapple with artists, staffs and audiences cut off from theatres for days; the minds of ticketholders and potential ticket buyers are not focused on their next evening out. [The shutting down of] Broadway is just the tip of the iceberg, the headline that efficiently communicated, pre-storm, that New York was hunkering down. Off and Off-Off Broadway, [and] theatres outside of New York all shut down as well. [The] relighting of Broadway will again capture headlines. I'd like to remind everyone who cares about live performance that the companies at greatest risk are those that are not as high profile, those without extensive financial resources, those that operate from small venues in locations somewhat less traveled. Let's do all we can to help our families, our neighbors and those we don't even know heal and rebuild. But when each of us is able, let's also look to the arts -- so often an afterthought in the minds of so many -- and make sure that we can gather together in theatres large and small very soon, and support with our labor, our money, our presence.


NYC's visual arts world assesses the damage to galleries & artists' studios

Hrag Vartanian,, 10/30/12

[M]any art neighborhoods have been impacted by flooding. Madga Sawon, co-owner of Chelsea's Postmasters gallery at 459 West 19th Street, just east of Tenth Avenue, said: "It was like being in a horror movie, you just watch and you have complete powerlessness." The flood waters avoided damaging Postmasters' main gallery space but their basement was flooded: "...[Our] operations will be impacted for at least a couple of weeks," she says. [Tuesday] morning, while surveying the impact on neighboring galleries, Sawon said she saw at least four feet of water at the Tanja Grunert gallery and David Zwirner gallery, both on West 19th Street: "Ruined art on the walls I saw through the door to both. Also Bortolami. Zach Feuer. Many other ground floor spaces west of Tenth. Terrible." She also knows that a natural disaster like [this] will impact many small galleries "much harder than the mega operations and will further contribute to polarizing the art scene." The New York Observer's Gallerist art blog has been going door to door in Chelsea to find out how the flood is impacting each gallery. They reported that West 21st Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues is underwater [as of noon on Tuesday]. Electricity remains out throughout the neighborhood. If the news from Chelsea sounds rather bleak, there is little news from the city's other gallery districts. The state of artist studios and loft buildings is going to be something of great concern in the coming days and weeks. Red Hook and Gowanus, where many artists live, experienced serious flooding.

UPDATE: We've received the first report of an artist's studio being devastated by Sandy. Greenpoint-based sculptor Rachel Beach arrived at her studio [Tuesday] to discover her studio was flooded with water. Her studio is part of the large 99 Commercial Street complex, which houses a number of artist studios. "I knew I was [in evacuation] Zone A, and my studio has had flooding before, though only six inches. I prepared by getting everything up off the floor, and some things were secured as high as six feet, and it took me days to get it organized," Beach told us. "The water came up so high that [it] lifted the tables. The water almost reached the ceiling, so when the water receded everything fell to the floor. It smells toxic in there. It smells like chemicals, not even like mold," she said, pointing out that Newtown Creek, which is adjacent to 99 Commercial Street, is a well-known toxic site. "I have waves of heartbreak and devastation as I think about the work I've lost," she said. "... I feel like I've lost a lifetime of work. Stacks of drawings and sketchbooks from the past 15 years. I have stacks from undergrad and grad school, just my faves, were there. Everything I loved."


Some ways that grantmakers are helping with disaster relief

Steve Cline, Grantmakers in the Arts blog, 10/30/12

With wide-spread destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, grantmakers across the country will be looking to help with the cleanup and rebuilding. Here are some resources to remember:

  • As always, for artists, CERF+ is a great place to start. And their Facebook page is especially worth noting for information coming in as the damage stories unfold.
  • Arts Ready is a resource that should be remembered in the wake of this devastating event.
  • Council of New Jersey Grantmakers has a Disaster Grantmaking Teleconference scheduled for November 1 at 2pm EST. No doubt this call has become much more imperative since it was initially scheduled.
  • Center for Disaster Philanthropy has a "Hurricane Sandy Hub" where information is being assembled.
  • Likewise from Council on Foundations, who has a list of resources as well.
Please consider the environment before printing out this email.  Thanks.
YOU'VE COTT MAIL is a free service for professionals in the arts.  Emails are sent most weekdays. 
If you are not already on the distribution list and would like to sign up, please click here:

Join Our Mailing List      Follow me on Twitter     
Click here to view an archive of recent past editions of "You've Cott Mail."