NEW YORK — With Hurricane Irene bearing down, the show will not go on on Broadway.
All 23 Broadway musical and plays have been canceled for Saturday and Sunday. When New York officials announced that the city's transit system will shut down beginning Saturday afternoon, closure became unavoidable.
"The safety and security of theatergoers and employees is everyone's primary concern," Paul Libin, chairman of the national trade association the Broadway League, said in a statement. "As a result of the suspension of public transportation by government authorities in preparation for the incoming storm, all Broadway performances in NYC on (Saturday) and (Sunday) will be cancelled."
It's the first time Broadway has shut down for an emergency since the blackout in 2003.
Organizers of The New York International Fringe Festival, which has been offering almost 200 small shows downtown over the past few weeks, also canceled all events on Saturday and Sunday, including its closing night party.
Irene is expected to hit North Carolina's coast sometime Saturday and track up the East Coast. The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane watch for New York City, and the storm is expected to come closest to the city sometime Sunday.
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.