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Broadway, in Rare Move, Closes for Hurricane Irene

Broadway will be dark for a rare weekend, as Hurricane Irene bears down on the city, with all Saturday and Sunday performances canceled, the Broadway League announced.

The 40 theaters that make up the Great White Way originally had planned to tough out the storm. Broadway rarely closes.

Broadway typically grosses about $20 million a week and more than 12 million people attended shows last year.

But after officials announced that portions of the city would be evacuated and all transportation systems shut down, the league, which represents the Broadway theater industry, reconsidered its decision.

The city has ordered evacuations of coastal neighborhoods in anticipation of the worst storm in decades.

The hurricane is expected to hit New York City Saturday night (Aug 27) into Sunday (Aug. 28).

Now declared a Category 2 hurricane, it’s currently over Virginia and the Carolinas (Sat. morning).

The storm is expected to weaken to a Category 1 by the time it hits the New York City area, but will still be packing torrential rains and winds of up to 90 mph.

The Mass Transit Administration is shutting down subways and buses at noon today (Aug. 27).

In addition, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered about a quarter-million residents of low-lying areas in the city’s five boroughs to leave their homes.

“The safety and security of theatergoers and employees is everyone’s primary concern,” Paul Libin, Chairman of The Broadway League, said in a statement.

The League said ticket holders will receive refunds. Both Telecharge and Ticketmaster will make automatic refunds within 10 business days.

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