Blackout hits Broadway, TV. But ''The Sopranos'' and Nicole Kidman's ''Stepford Wives'' kept shooting, thanks to generators

By Brian Hiatt
Updated August 14, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

The lights went out on Broadway — and on ”Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” too. The massive blackout that robbed the eastern U.S. and Canada of electricity Thursday night meant that Broadway shows from ”The Producers” to ”Gypsy” could not go on. Show producers could each face losses of as much as $120,000 for the night, according to the Associated Press. The only production spared was ”Say Goodnight Gracie,” which, fortuitously, had no Thursday night performance scheduled, AP reported.

The outage hit television, too, with networks pre-empting their schedules for news coverage. A taping of ”Conan” was cancelled, but O’Brien did tape an opening segment to air with a rerun, according to Variety. MTV’s studios shut down, while other New York-based networks used backup power to produce news programming, the trade paper reported. Meanwhile, some major TV and movie productions continued, thanks to backup generators. ”The Sopranos,” the Nicole Kidman vehicle ”Stepford Wives,” and the Olsen Twins’ ”New York Minute” all kept shooting on Thursday, according to Variety.

Thursday night’s movie grosses took a major hit. But a Friday power outage would have been a far bigger disaster for the industry. ”The economic impact won’t be severe for a Thursday,” Rick King, spokesperson for AMC theaters, told Variety. And this week’s new releases, including ”Freddy vs. Jason” and Brittany Murphy’s ”Uptown Girls” should open as scheduled.

Meanwhile, live music in the affected areas went silent. In Clarkstown, Michigan, fans of Iggy Pop and his reunited Detroit proto-punk band the Stooges missed a long-awaited homecoming; their planned concert was rescheduled for Aug. 25, according to the Detroit Free Press. And Bob Dylan’s third show of the week at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom was postponed until Friday. Perhaps understandably, the rock legend performer chose not to seize an opportunity to embrace his unplugged past. One of the only performances to go on as scheduled was the Indigo Girls in Central Park — the folk-rock duo played with the help of generators, according to the New York Times. But they use acoustic guitars, anyway.

Episode Recaps

James Gandolfini

The Sopranos

  • TV Show
  • In Season
stream service