NYC Blackout Lights Up Times Square With Impromptu Cast Performances; Dave Chappelle Takes Show To Comedy Clubs, Famous Fans Follow


This afternoon’s weekly Broadway box office report should shine a light on at least one aspect of Saturday night’s Manhattan blackout, but for some New Yorkers and out-of-towners the impact was more immediate: Comedy club-goers got Dave Chappelle, Times Square visitors got impromptu performances from the likes of Hadestown, Come From Away and Waitress, and Sunday matinee audiences got a one-of-a-kind show-must-go-on performance at Disney’s The Lion King.

Consolidated Edison has apologized for, but has not explained the causes of, a power outage that left a reported 72,000 Manhattan customers – including most Broadway theaters – without electricity on Saturday night. While Be More Chill, Beautiful, Burn This and Beetlejuice – all located on the east side of Broadway – went on without a hitch, most shows canceled.

For the complete roster of cancelations, check back with Deadline later this afternoon for our weekly Broadway box office report, with financial data provided by the Broadway League.

One quick impact was the surprise showing of Chappelle at the 499-seat Gramercy Theatre on E. 23rd Street in Manhattan and, later, a performance alongside comics Bill Burr and Wil Sylvince at the Comedy Center in Greenwich Village. Chappelle’s solo Broadway show at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre was canceled (that show was rescheduled for Sunday, July 21; tickets from Saturday’s canceled show will be honored).

Among those disappointed, and later delighted, by the turn of events at the Lunt-Fontanne was Judd Apatow, who tweeted this photo of himself and fellow comics Wil Sylvince, Damon Wayans, Bill Burr and Mike Birbiglia.

“It’s funny the people you bump into waiting around NYC during a power outage when the Dave Chappelle show has been canceled,” Apatow wrote. “Then we all walked 40 blocks to the @ComedyCellarUSA hoping Dave would go on there and he and @billburr did. It was a great weird night!”

On Instagram, the Comedy Cellar posted a photo of Chappelle and Sylvince, with the message, “So there was a blackout on Broadway…all roads lead to the #ComedyCellar.”

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So there was a blackout on Broadway…. all roads lead to the #ComedyCellar.

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Over at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on West 45th Street – or, rather, outside the theater – the cast of Come From Away performed an impromptu rendition of the musical’s “Welcome To The Rock.” Cast member Chad Kimball posted video of the outdoor crowd-pleaser:

Outside the Walter Kerr Theatre, Hadestown Tony winner André De Shields led the company in an improvised blackout song, the video later tweeted and retweeted by the production as well as by fan Lin-Manuel Miranda. “André freestyling during the Blackout is everything I love,” Miranda wrote.

And here’s the Waitress company serving up a freebie:

On West 45th Street block, The Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre was not only canceled, it was wet. Backstage flooding caused by the power outage damaged some of the show’s costumes, leaving cast members L. Steven Taylor (Mufasa) and Tshidi Manye (Rafiki) to explain to the audience at Sunday’s matinee why they were performing in mufti.

Watch their explanation here, and a snippet of the show following…

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