The NYC Blackout Forced Broadway Shows To Cancel—So The Performers Took It To The Streets Instead

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On Saturday, a good portion of Manhattan experienced a blackout at 6:47 p.m., with affected areas including "West 72nd Street on the north, West 30th Street on the south, the Hudson River on the west and 5th Avenue on the east," according to Con Edison.

Power was restored by midnight and Con Ed is still investing the cause of a transformer explosion that scared many tourists and New Yorkers.

Commuters were stuck underground in the darkness on subways and drivers above ground were left to their own devices with blinking traffic lights and scrambling pedestrians.

And although the lights were out in Times Square, with most shows being forced to cancel performances, Broadway did not exactly go dark.


Cast members from shows such as Waitress and Hadestown took to the streets and entertained ticket holders who were waiting for announcements on the status of the evening's performances.

The Best Musical winner of 2019, Hadestown, regrettably canceled the show and made their announcement on Twitter.

However, Tony winner André De Shields performed an impromptu performance with cast in tow outside the theater and riffed on the blackout by changing the lyrics to the show's opening number, "Road to Hell."

Hadestown cast member and Broadway Serves co-founder, Kimberly Marable, chronicled the rousing performance.

Leave it to New Yorkers to turn a momentary crisis into a positive and memorable experience.



Come From Away, which won the Tony for Best Musical in 2017, embraced the situation and also performed for patrons outside the stage door.

The show's star Chad Kimball led the cast singing "Welcome to the Rock."




The cast of Waitress served up a slice of joy with their acoustic set that included a rendition of "Lean on Me."








According to Playbill, the following shows were able to resume with their scheduled performances:

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Beetlejuice
Be More Chill
Broadway Bounty Hunter (Off-Broadway)
Burn This
Fiddler on the Roof (Off-Broadway)

But a vast majority of shows, including Tony winner Hamilton, were not as fortunate.


The cast from Ain't Too Proud sang out from the windows of their respective dressing rooms from inside the Imperial Theater.

One enthusiastic Twitter user captured the performance and misidentified the cast with that of Hamilton, who resides next door at the Richard Rogers Theater.


The largest crowd assembled outside Carnegie Hall, where the Millennial Choirs and Orchestra gave a performance after their canceled concert.





There were no deaths or injuries reported during the blackout that affected over 73,000 homes and businesses.

John McAvoy, chief executive of utility Con Edison said "it does not appear related to excessive load."

New York endured significant power outrages before, including one following Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the Northeast blackout that lasted an entire day in 2003.

Ticket holders may have been inconvenienced for the time being with canceled shows, but they witnessed intimate and once-in-a-lifetime experiences with these impromptu performances.

New Yorkers know how to handle chaos in the city. And for that, they should take a bow.

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