NY1's Queens Week series continues with a community theater group in Breezy Point that is reopening after Hurricane Sandy, and its actors, after they "made it through the rain," are now singing about it. NY1's Arts reporter Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
Hurricane Sandy didn't just steal the spotlight from Rockaway Theatre Company -- it destroyed its stage, dressing rooms, equipment and more. But now the company has rebuilt and is reopening with a new musical revue
"During Sandy, the water had run down and had collected around the stage, destroying and warping the entire stage, forcing us to take our walls out, our floors out," says Susan Jasper, a producer for the Rockaway Theatre Company. "We lost our microphones, we lost all sound equipment."
But they did not lose their spirit. Despite dealing with more than $60,000 in damage and needing to rebuild, the nonprofit community theater company managed to stage a small production at a nearby church in the winter.
Now, with the help of donations and volunteers, they have rebuilt their home in Fort Tilden, near Breezy Point.
They chose a musical revue to reopen with because they did not have the time or money to mount a major musical. The revue also gives them a chance to tell the story of Sandy. It's called "Rockaway Cafe: The Comeback."
"There was the darkness part of the story, all storm songs and rain and wind songs. And then the other side is the comeback, the light that we would be coming into and those songs were about sunshine and picking up after a disaster and always looking on the bright side," says John Gilleece the company's artistic director.
Gilleece gets choked up thinking about what his group's comeback means to the entire community.
"To bring in people from Rockaway, sit in the audience and share it with us, That's the most important thing," he says. "We all came back together."
"Rockaway Cafe: The Comeback" even has its own slogan -- "New Jersey is stronger than the storm, but Queens is stronger than Jersey!"
"Rockaway Cafe" is on through this weekend and tickets start at $15. The group will then perform the comedy "Boing Boing" in September. For more information, visit www.rockawaytheatrecompany.org.