Theaters plot post-Sandy second acts

One day soon, only the actors will be damaged

CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL CENTER
107 Suffolk St. (btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.)
Visit csvcenter.org or call 212-260-4080
According to Jan Hanvik, executive director of the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center (CSV): “We were VERY lucky at the Clemente that after leaking like a waterfall for uncountable years, we were dry inside [after Hurricane Sandy] because of all the city-funded renovations that finished in July.” Like every other theater south of 39th Street, though, they have had their activities seriously disrupted by the power outage.

The grand unveiling of their renovated space (a former schoolhouse), originally scheduled for Nov. 8-11, has been pushed back to Nov. 16-18. It is the first time in 18 years their building can be seen without construction scaffolding. Of course, the one good thing about the scaffolding is that it helped to make a gloomy, creepy environment for CSV’s annual hosting of the Nightmare Haunted House. This was CSV’s major casualty from the storm. The four busiest days of the year (the days leading up to Halloween) were lost. The upside is that the show has been rescheduled.

It’s back up and will be running through Nov. 10, for those interested in a post-seasonal scare. See hauntedhousenyc.com for tickets and info. For a review, see the Arts section of this publication’s website.

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 L.A.B., 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.

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 caf√© in his theater’s lobby or send out-of-town friends to the bed and breakfast he runs upstairs.

3LD ART AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER
80 Greenwich St. (btw. Edgar & Rector Sts.)
Visit 3ldnyc.orgor call 212-645-0374
Also known as “3-Legged Dog,” 3LD has known disaster before. Prior to 9/11, their original location made them the closest theater to the World Trade Center. It was totally destroyed by the collapse of the Twin Towers. In the aftermath, they built a fabulous facility on Greenwich Street, just a few blocks south of the new World Trade Center. Unfortunately, it’s also just a few blocks away from Battery Park, the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and the Hudson River. As a consequence, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, 3LD once again finds itself in the grip of a disaster, one of the hardest-hit theaters in the city.

According to artistic director Kevin Cunningham, Studio B (the theater on the Washington Street side of the building) got ten inches of water and will need significant renovation. But far more ominously, the basement (the site of the building’s electrics, mechanical equipment, HVAC system and fire safety equipment) was under three feet of water. Once pumped out, the damage will need to be assessed and likely much of that equipment replaced. This is particularly nettlesome for 3LD because its niche in the theatrical community is its high-tech electronic equipment; the theater’s whole raison d’etre could be in jeopardy.

As for now, its current show “FLIGHT18″is on indefinite hiatus, as are all workshops and productions in the near future. To stay updated on their status, or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit their website.

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

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