Blackout Darkened Broadway, But Shows Starting with the Letter ‘B’ Carried On

By Anna Breuer on 14 July 2019
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New York City may have had a blackout, but it somehow exempted Broadway plays and musicals starting with the letter “b.”

The blackout that ran from 72nd Street to the West 40s, and from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River, may have stopped movies in mid-sentence, emptied shops, left diners in restaurants with only the glow of their smartphones, and caused the Great White Way to go dark somehow exempted four shows, namely “Be More Chill” (at the Lyceum Theatre), “Beautiful” (at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre), “Beetlejuice” (at the Winter Garden Theatre) and “Burn This” (at the Hudson Theatre).

Those four theaters are the only Broadway houses on the east side of Broadway and were therefore not in the area affected by the power failure.

The list of shows that were cancelled Saturday evening includes “Hamilton,” “Book of Mormon,” “Wicked,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Hadestown,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”

Cast members from many of the shows affected by the blackout sang for theatergoers on the sidewalk while theatergoers waited for confirmation that their show was indeed cancelled. Producers are loath to cancel performances but theaters lack generators sufficient to power the lights and electronic devices necessary to put on a performance.

Outside the Walter Kerr Theatre, Tony winner André de Shields performed a special blackout version of the opening number from “Hadestown,” “The Road to Hell,” while in front of the Schoenfeld Theatre, the cast from “Come From Away” sang its opening number, “Welcome to the Rock.”

Carnegie Hall was evacuated mid-performance and the performers – the Millennial Choirs and Orchestra – continued the concert outside.

The power failure occurred in New York City at 6:47 p.m. local time and halted subways, disabled traffic lights, and left people stranded in subway cars and elevators.

It came on the 42nd anniversary of the 1977 power failure that led to widespread looting and arson.

Blaise Buckley contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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