Lights Go Out on Sondheim Tribute in Old City

Sondheim at the Arden. | Photo by Mark Garvin

Sondheim at the Arden. | Photo by Mark Garvin

Around 7 pm last night, just before the Arden Theatre Company was to stage a Stephen Sondheim tribute concert, the lights went out all around Old City. Sondheim was actually in the neighborhood—dining at Zahav—during the power failure, which, according to The Inquirer, happened after an underground cable shorted near the theater during a rainstorm. An hour and a half after the blackout, power had been restored for more than half of those who lost it—but not the Arden.

So, as they say in the theater, the show went on. Down the street, at the Arden’s Hamilton Family Center, power had returned, so they picked up everything—cast, crew, audience, Sondheim—and performed there. The Inquirer details the performance:

The concert – a rich array of songs from previous productions, mostly performed by the actors who had first sung them on the Arden stage – had to be pared back. Sorry, no orchestra, just a piano. And a half-dozen of the numbers had to go. In addition, there were too few seats for all the ticketed audience members; some peeled off into the rainy night, but most trooped damply a half-block to the new venue, where, if they couldn’t sit, they lined the walls and back of the room.

When things finally got underway, about 9, the guest of honor was seated in the audience, laughing and chatting with those around him, and the concert unfolded as if it had been planned that way all along.