Theaters Plot Post-Sandy Second Acts

One day soon, only the actors will be damaged

THE KITCHEN
512 W. 19th St.
(btw. 10th &11th Aves).
Visit thekitchen.org
or call 212-255-5793
The Kitchen, one of New York’s premiere experimental performance spaces (with its location on the far west side of Manhattan), suffered some of the worst damage of any NYC venue in the aftermath of Sandy. Four feet of flooding filled the building’s theater and lobby spaces — severely damaging the floors, walls, doors, box office, lighting and sound equipment. Initial estimates of the loss are between $400,000 and $500,000.

Their planned season has been postponed indefinitely, although they promise to re-mount the shows when they can (announced shows include the next installment of The Kitchen LAB, Adrienne Truscott’s “Too Freedom” (a dance show) and Camille Henrot and Joakim’s “Psychopompe” (music/performance).

The Kitchen’s Benefit Auction, which was slated for Mon., Nov. 12, has been rescheduled for Mon., Nov. 26. Donations may be made at thekitchen.org.

THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
155 First Ave.
(btw. 9th & 10th Sts.)
Visit theaterforthenewcity.net or call 212-254-1109
In the days after Sandy hit, Theater for the New City suffered minor flooding in its First Avenue theater complex — not from rain or sea water, but from sewage. According to Jon Weber, the theater’s administrative director, TNC’s basement is below the sewer line and relies on constant pumping to keep it dry on the best of days. When the power went out, so did their pumps. An inch of water filled their downstairs cabaret space and adjacent corridors.

Fortunately, they were able to get generators in short order. The basement was pumped out and the office was restored to functionality. By the time power was restored to the neighborhood on November 3, TNC was cleaned up, decorated and ready to hold their Halloween Ball — a major annual event that had been sadly cancelled on the actual holiday. Turnout for the event was 750 — low by usual standards, but surprisingly high given the short notice of their announcement that it was back on. The storm caused many other changes in their schedule.

John Jiler’s “Ripe” was extended through November 11. Dance performances by the Nancy Zendora Dance Company and Su-En, a Swedish Butoh dancer, were cancelled outright. The opening of Walt Stepp’s “Skybox” (described as “Adam’s Rib” meets “Moneyball”) was pushed back to November 15.

Other shows at TNC are going on as originally scheduled: “Renovations” opened November 8, and “The Tenant” and “Garden of Delights” both open November 15. Visit theaterforthenewcity.net to buy tickets, get info or make donations.

THE NEW OHIO THEATRE
154 Christopher St.
(btw. Greenwich & Washington Sts.)
For tickets, visit smarttix.com
or call 212-868-4444
Visit sohothinktank.org
In the wake of Sandy, one was prepared to hear the worst about the fate of the New Ohio Theatre, located as it is just a stone’s throw from the Hudson River. But, says artistic director Robert Lyon of Soho Think Tank, the New Ohio’s in-house company, “Fortunately, we lost power but did not flood. We are one block from the river and in the basement, so it feels like a miracle. On the other hand, we did lose a preview, and opening night, and two performances. Ironically, the play is “Coney” by David Johnston and is about the Coney Island boardwalk. Which has now washed away. Adds another layer of meaning to the whole enterprise.”

“Coney” will be on the boards through November 18. From December 3-23, terraNOVA Collective, celebrates their 10th season with the world premiere of P.S. Jones and The Frozen City — a comic book superhero adventure story written by Robert Askins (“Hand to God”) and directed by José Zayas. For tickets, information, and to support the New Ohio and Soho Think Tank, go to sohothinktank.org.

CANAL PARK PLAYHOUSE
508 Canal St.
(btw. Greenwich & Washington Sts.)
Visit canalparkplayhouse.com
or call 212-226-3040
One of the hardest hit Downtown theaters was Canal Park Playhouse, located in a 185-year-old landmark building on the far west side of Tribeca. The building stands at what was once the shoreline of Manhattan Island, before a landfill put the Hudson at a few hundred yards remove. But that’s close enough to have left this charming little theater at risk during Hurricane Sandy.

According to proprietor Kipp Osborne, his “theater was full of water.” That phrase is used a lot during floods — but in Osborne’s case, it’s not hyperbole. His below-ground theater was inundated up to the ceiling, as were his basement office, storage and dressing rooms. Shows like Cardone the Magician’s “Spook Show” (which I recommend) and the about-to-open “Circuswork” are indefinitely postponed while Osborne and his staff gut the space, dry it out, rebuild and rewire. They hope to have repairs complete in January, for the third annual run of “Circus in A Trunk.”

Unfortunately, the Playhouse is not a not-for-profit organization. In lieu of donations, Osborne asks that you give him your business once he’s up and running again. If you’re not a theater lover, you can eat in the waffle café in his theater’s lobby or send out-of-town friends to the bed and breakfast he runs upstairs.

–  By TRAV S.D.  (travsd.wordpress.com)

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