It’s been raining onstage for a month at the Omaha Community Playhouse.
This week, thanks to vandals, that rain turned into a flood.
Someone entered the Omaha Community Playhouse after hours Monday night and drilled a hole in the 300-gallon water tank that produces the onstage storm for “Singin’ in the Rain,” the theater’s current show.
Water flowed into the paint and scenery shop backstage and seeped into a basement kitchen. The theater’s sound and light system was damaged, and its entire supply of wireless microphones was stolen.
Despite all that, said Playhouse Executive Director Katie Broman, the show went on as usual Wednesday night, the first one scheduled after the vandalism. And the lead character danced in onstage puddles as he has in every performance.
According to a police report, damage to the Playhouse was estimated at $240,600. The report said the incident occurred sometime between 9 p.m. Monday and 8:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Broman said staffers kept finding things amiss after arriving at work Tuesday morning.
After their initial shock, Playhouse crew members rallied to make sure the stage was ready for Wednesday’s performance. All five remaining shows in the musical’s nearly monthlong run have already sold out.
“The first and obvious area of damage was the water tank because that created such a mess,” Broman said.
It also was the first priority for cleanup and repair, she added, because “the rain is essential.”
Tim Burkhart of Midwest Sound and Lighting lent the theater equipment and helped with reprogramming and installation. It’s not yet clear whether any of the light board can be salvaged, Broman said.
Burkhart, she said, “has been hugely helpful.”
Cast members also have been super supportive, she said. Some made plans to come in early Wednesday for tests on the new equipment, and one cast member sent cookies to the Playhouse.
And, Broman said, Playhouse staff members have stepped up during a challenging time.
“It has been a really tough 48 hours, but our staff is just incredible. I cannot praise them enough,” she said. “When bad things happen, even though someone is trying to harm our livelihood, you can’t break our spirits. Our final performances will include a lot of heart and perseverance.”