The Playgoer: Broadway Bomb Lays an Egg

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Broadway Bomb Lays an Egg

[photo removed at request of photographer]

 No, not the newest cast member of Chicago. Just another bomb sniffing robot struttin' his stuff in Times Square.

Yes, a car bomb almost blew up The Lion King last night.

Well, ok, maybe the threat from this "improvised" fizzling device stuffed into a parked SUV wasn't that severe.
Kevin B. Barry, a former supervisor in the New York Police Department bomb squad, said that if the device had functioned, “it would be more of an incendiary event” than an explosion.
Well one thing's for sure: That would have been the first "incendiary event" on Broadway in quite a while.

("An Incendiary Event!" sure would look good on that Lion King marquee, don't you think?)

Playbill cuts to the chase and rounds up the effect on the many Broadway shows affected:
Broadway shows on or near West 45th Street include Next to Normal, The Lion King, A Behanding in Spokane, God of Carnage, Red, Billy Elliot, Lend Me a Tenor and Come Fly Away. learned that the Saturday night curtain of Mary Poppins went up on schedule on West 42nd Street, as did the curtain of La Cage aux Folles on West 48th Street. The Addams Family on 46th Street began about 20 minutes late. A Behanding in Spokane on West 45th Street began about 8:30 PM, with the audience invited to move down front into any empty seats. God of Carnage began around 8:30 PM. At the end of the show, the audience was held for 15 minutes and was instructed to exit through the stage door alley, into the Milford Plaza lobby toward Eighth Avenue. The same happened at Red, next door. Lend Me a Tenor, at the Music Box on 45th, also began around 8:30 Saturday. At the end of the show, the audience filed out through a back exit through the Richard Rodgers Theatre on 46th Street. The Enron company on West 44th Street learned shortly before 8 PM that there was a nearby police action, so the curtain was delayed for a few minutes. At the end of the performance, around 10:30 PM, an announcement was made to the audience that they should exit west toward Eighth Avenue and not toward Times Square. One observer told, "The police were not kidding around. They hustled people out."  A cast member from The Lion King told that the show began almost an hour late on Saturday night.
In short, despite the rumpus, "all shows did go on," as confirmed by the Broadway League this morning.  So say what you will, Broadway is resilient.

(Some customers may have had trouble getting past the barricades into their shows, but the League promises refunds.)

Between this and the holiday season police shootout on pretty much the same block back in December, Times Square may once again become a dangerous place.

But perhaps the most crushing blow to the theatre industry is not the danger, but the excitement!
Gabrielle Zecha and Taj Heniser, visiting from Seattle, had tickets to see “Next to Normal” at the Booth Theater on 45th Street but could not get into the 8 p.m. show because the area was blocked off. But they made the best of the spectacle. “It’s a whole different kind of show,” Ms. Heniser said, adding, “It’s almost the equivalent of a $150 show.” 
Yes, standing in the street and watching a stationery vehicle being prodded by robots has become a better bargain than a Broadway show.

photo: Hiroko Masuike, NY Times
The defused SUV finally being towed away from West 45th St. early this morning.

1 comment:

Playgoer said...

Postscript: Turns out that while all shows did go on, one actor--and one actor only--refused to go out on stage that night after the bomb scare: Lucy Liu.
(See Riedel's 5/5/2010 column.)