A New York City blackout stretching from Times Square to the Upper West Side wasn’t enough to keep some of Broadway’s biggest stars from going on stage Saturday night.
Except in this case, the stage was replaced by the actual streets of NYC, where thespians from musicals like Hamilton, Rock of Ages and Waitress put on a show despite most theaters canceling their evening performances.
Times Square is down, i repeat, Times Square is down. This is not a drill!! #Blackout #NYC pic.twitter.com/8IUfER7ozl
— Sahid Abraham (@Sahid0) July 13, 2019
The blackout began at 6:47 p.m. EST Saturday, according to CNN, when the first of many transformer fires broke out at West 64th Street and West End Avenue in Manhattan.
Ticketholders gathered outside Broadway theater entrances were greeted with news both good and bad when company members announced their respective cancellations — with a twist.
To kick things off, Tony winner André De Shields (who plays Hermes in Hadestown) performed a blackout-themed version of “Road to Hell,” the show’s opening number:
When the NYC #blackout hit the Walter Kerr tonight, André and the company had to take this party to the streets! (🎥: @misskimizzo) #Hadestown #Broadway pic.twitter.com/oZTW3gaimm
— Hadestown (@hadestown) July 14, 2019
The cast and band of Come From Away treated fans to a high-energy rendition of “Welcome to the Rock”:
Impromptu performance #broadwayblackout @wecomefromaway pic.twitter.com/PfHYZeFJ6v
— Chad Kimball (@chadkimball1) July 14, 2019
Meanwhile, the stars of Hamilton sang to the crowd gathered below them at Rodgers Theater:
@cnn @HamiltonMusical was cancelled due to the blackout. The cast sang to us from above the Rodgers Theater in NY. It was awesome! pic.twitter.com/HV6cf1tTzG
— A (@lemonfuzz) July 14, 2019
The Waitress cast didn’t disappoint, either:
The cast of @WaitressMusical entertaining stalled theatergoers outside during the NYC blackout. (via @meganrgaffney) #Blackout #NYCBlackout pic.twitter.com/vLLnAcKV8D
— Dave Quinn (@NineDaves) July 14, 2019
Of course, nothing could stop the Rock of Ages company from rocking the streets outside off-Broadway’s New World Stages:
Frozen on Broadway stars Bobby Creighton and Patti Murin dropped a freestyle rap to announce their show’s cancellation:
Crazy night in NYC. No @FrozenBroadway tonight. #blackout2019 #snowday @PattiMurin dropping the…beat? Hey @Lin_Manuel not my best sampling – but I’m available. LOL. pic.twitter.com/IDc599gvxW
— Robert Creighton (@RCreightonNYC) July 14, 2019
Even the Carnegie Hall choir got into the spirit with an impromptu outdoor concert:
Now this is what turning lemons into lemonade is all about! We can hear singing from the streets below…the entire @carnegiehall choir including conductor are putting on an impromptu concert by singing outside during the blackout! #NYCBlackout #BeautifulSoundsDuringBlackout pic.twitter.com/ll5ocnGYvc
— Caryn Ross (@SuperSassyMama) July 14, 2019
Elsewhere, New Yorkers took it upon themselves to direct traffic at busy intersections in hopes of keeping drivers and pedestrians safe amid non-working traffic lights.
The literal party in the streets exemplified the enduring spirit of what’s often called the greatest city in the world.
The randos directing traffic during the #NYCblackout is a perfect example of why I love this city. The audacity of people to get things done in the face of adversity is incredible and inspiring.
— Ethan (@basic_barrister) July 14, 2019
NYC loses power. Civilians take to the streets to direct traffic. Impromptu performances by broadway casts outside closed theatres for shut-out ticket holders. And people dare say NY has no heart. #NYCblackout #blackout
— bitharvest (@bitharvest) July 14, 2019
Broadway casts singing In the street, random new yorkers directing traffic…this is why I LOVE NEW YORK! #nycblackout pic.twitter.com/9Fi7sMMDkM
— Amy Blasenstein (@aimers0608) July 14, 2019
The power outage hit parts of Manhattan on the 42nd anniversary of The Great Blackout of 1977 that resulted in widespread looting, fires, and thousands of arrests and injuries across the city. This time, New York authorities said there were “no reports of fatalities or injuries,” according to USA Today.