Last week’s torrential downpour created a tsunami of sorts, a six-foot wall of water than raged down the Main Street hill in Nyack and right into Riverspace in Nyack, causing extensive damage that might take months to fix.
Producer Danielle Rudess of the Helen Hayes Youth Theater tells me she toured the venue on Saturday with the contractor hired by Nyack to handle the massive project.
HHYT rehearses at their Nyack studios but still performs at Riverspace, where the group got its start, back in the days of the Helen Hayes Theatre Company. Riverspace is also where Justin Boccitto and Sol Bloch hoped to launch their New Generation Theater this summer, with a production of “The Who’s Tommy.”
Here’s Rudess’ report from her meeting with the contractor:
“All of the seats need to be removed and the foam seating needs to be thrown out. The entire backstage area, the dressing rooms and tech office, is being demolished, all of the lighting and sound equipment is being removed so that the humidity does not further damage it. The grand piano that sat stage left was floating when I was there, all of the curtains have to be taken down and cleaned, the lobby is torn up because the contractors had to pull up all of the carpeting and the floor underneath.”
There have been floods at Riverspace before, but this one, Rudess says, was the worst “because the water entered from the side, the backstage door, so the water flowed directly onto the backstage, stage and theater house.”
Meanwhile, Rudess’ summer theater camp begins within the hour and, with productions slated to be rehearsing on stage from July 5 to Aug. 20, which would seem to be impossible at this point, given the damage.
The troupe will use Nyack High School’s theater for the first two weekends of shows, but will have to look for another venue after mid-July, as the high-school stage is no available after mid-July.
Given that the village has been exploring a “superblock” plan to rebuild the entire area, there might be a real question as to whether the Riverspace board will choose to rebuild or not.
Photo by Peter Carr/The Journal News: Crews cleanup after muddy flood waters filled the theater at Riverspace in Nyack on Friday.