#HURRICANEHARVEY Damages Houston's Theater District, NY's B'way❤ Concert to Fund Repairs
FRIDAY // SEPTEMBER 7, 2017
On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, leaving behind a path of destruction and devastation among millions of residents across the Gulf Coast. According to CBS News on Monday, the Category 4 hurricane has caused a death toll of 63 and may continue to grow as search efforts progress.
Last Thursday, ABC News reported that Harvey has destroyed an estimate of 30,000 to 40,000 homes. In addition, about 15,000 calls for assistance have been made to the Houston Fire Department and more than 1,000 rescue related calls per hour to the United States Coast Guard.
Houston’s theater district experienced massive damage and flooding prior to fall performance season planned for next week, Live Design reported on Wednesday. In response, the New York broadway community will present B'way❤Houston: A Concert To Rebuild Houston's Downtown Theater District on October 9 at New York's Midtown Manhattan’s The Green Room 42 at Yotel, Playbill.com announced on Tuesday.
One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to repair efforts at the Houston Theater District. For those who cannot attend, the event will stream live with an online link to donate. Ticket prices begin at $100. You may purchase tickets here.
Hosted by Seth Rudetsky, the lineup presents big names from Broadway in order to provide aid for the Houston Theater District's recovery. The lineup includes the following: Ali Stroker, Jessie Mueller, Nikki M. James, Andy Karl, Orfeh, Tony Yazbeck, and more, listed on Playbill.com.
The Houston Theater District needs all the help it can get. On the theater’s Facebook post last Monday, Theater District Houston Board Chair Perryn Leech and CEO Kathryn McNiel discussed the following buildings that experienced the most damage:
The Wortham Theater Center
High water levels damaged the front of the theater due to a low level. In addition, water surged onto the Brown Theater stage through the back of the house. Fortunately the Cullen Theater stage experienced little damage but unfortunately the building’s basement is full of water.
Jones Hall for the Performing Arts
The rehearsal room which is located in the basement, experienced the worst damage and currently contains standing water.
The Alley Theater
The good news: lobby areas and Hubbard Theater are both in good condition; the bad news: The Neuhaus Theater, lobby and electrical systems are fully submerged.
The Hobby Center
The loading dock area of the foyer in Zilkha Hall experienced some water penetration.
In addition to these buildings, the district’s garages are completely submerged underwater.
The end of the Facebook post reports, “Officials will continue to assess the buildings over the coming days and updated reports of conditions will be issued as appropriate.”
However, this is not the first time Houston’s Theater District has experienced substantial flood damages. Although Tropical Storm Allison in June 2011 was not considered a hurricane, the storm trapped tremendous amounts of water, the The Washington Post recalls in an article that compares Harvey to Allison.
In September 2011, Houston Chronicle reported that Jones Hall, Wortham Theater Center and the theater garages cost the city more than $27 million, with more than $7 million spent on the Alley Theater. The 250 million gallons of water took 50 days to pump out of all the garages. After that, workers pulled out 150 vehicles and worked a vigorous two months for seven days a week. Short after, the both the district and the garages opened up to the public again.
Back then, individuals had proposed building a wall against Buffalo Bayou or establishing heavy doors as a tunnel system closure to prevent the flow of water.
Unfortunately more than a decade later, the theater could not prevent such a catastrophic storm such as Harvey. For now, the broadway community is stepping above and beyond to support each other in a crucial time in need.