Read about ‘The Miracle on 153rd Street’

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AngelSockPuppet-168x300There was a fire at BAT’s home of 34 years (read our extensive coverage here).

It is up to the Burien City Council, BAT’s landlord, to decide whether to rebuild the theater space or not. But this is not about arson, is is about Hope in Hard Times and the ‘Miracle on 153rd street.’

Most of all it is about thanks.

BAT chose “Coney Island Christmas” because the Highline Historical Society asked BAT if we could produce a Holiday show set in the Great Depression to go along with the Historical Society’s exhibit about the Depression, “Hope in Hard Times.”

It took some time, but BAT located the script for “Coney Island Christmas,” a play that had been written in 2012, but about a very special Christmas in 1935.  To produce the play BAT had to get the script directly from the author’s agent, as it has not yet been published (BAT has dealt with agents many times before, to get a new work.)

After weeks of rehearsals, weeks of design work for light, sound, set, costumes and props the show opened to very good reviews and wonderful audiences.  Once again BAT had a hit on its hands!

20131210_123844_resized-300x168Then on December 10, 2013, fire struck BAT’s theater.  Two weeks into a four week run and it looked like all was lost.  (The fire department says the fire was arson; regardless of the cause, the damage is done.)

BAT was heartbroken. It was hard times in Burien.

Within moments of the word of the fire getting out, BAT heard from its actors and designers.  “How do we remount the show?” “The show must go on!” Our hearts began to soar. Was it possible to turn “Coney Island Christmas” into a road show?

imgres-2Cleaning, rebuilding, redesigning was underway by the end of the day. But where could BAT perform? Theater takes space, lots of space.  By the the end of the day theaters throughout Puget Sound had stepped up and offered their spaces, but they all either already had a Holiday show up or had other conflicts.  BAT also wanted to stay in Burien, if it could.

Soon, the Highline Historical Society contacted BAT and said they had some room in their pop-up museum where they had “Hope in Hard Times.” After looking at that space, and a few others, BAT thought continuing the run of “Coney Island Christmas” just might be possible.

CIMG1201-300x225BAT quickly decided the best hope to complete the show’s run was at “Hope in Hard Times.”  A name fitting in so many ways.  The actors, directors, designers and tech crew swung into high gear.  So much of the show would have to change to squeeze into the museum space, but the soul and charm of the show could still shine on. In a whirlwind three days BAT took “Coney Island Christmas” from the ashes to an interim space.  BAT did not miss a performance!

On December 22 BAT closed “Coney Island Christmas” following two weekends of sold-out shows.  BAT’s interim space had 30 less seats and many who wanted to see the show could not, but for those that could get in, they laughed and enjoyed a marvelous “road show.”

BAT thanks everyone who helped make this miracle happen.  BAT also thanks those who have been and may still be able to make a donation to help keep BAT alive.

Now, on to “Noises Off.”  Come see BAT’s next show!  it opens February 21, 2014.  Where?  BAT is not sure yet, but after remounting “Coney Island Christmas” in 3 days, finding a space by February seems easy.

BAT was offered help from so many, and year-end tax deductible donations are coming in, but there are a few of the Holiday Heavenly Host that BAT would like to single out, they allowed “Coney Island Christmas” to become a roadshow:

  • Highline Historical Society – for the space to perform in their “Hope in Hard Times Museum,” for inviting us unsolicited to use it, and for moving things around in the museum to accommodate the show, and for the use of their audience chairs;
  • Dukesbay Productions – for LED lights, light stands, and curtains;
  • Nic Olson and New Muses Theatre – for speakers;
  • GreenStage – for speaker stands;
  • Hi-Liners – for audience seating risers;
  • Belfor Property Restoration — for speed-cleaning set pieces and equipment and then moving them to the museum in time for BAT to set up for the show by Friday, December 13;
  • Certified Restoration Drycleaning Network — for speed-cleaning costumes and then moving them to the museum in time for us set up for the show by Friday, December 13; and last, but far from least;

The ”Coney Island Christmas” cast, crew designers, directors plus many many more volunteers – for remounting the show, including moving into museum, redesigning, reblocking — and then for moving everything back to the theater when the show closed on December 22;

From fire to a miracle on 153rd street in days, and then to finish the run to sold-out houses.  It was a Holiday miracle, to be sure.

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