Danielle Rudess has pumped water and scraped mud out of Nyack's Riverspace Theatre on three occasions in the past 13 years. But the last time she did it—on the heels of —was the most devastating.
"The water line was seven feet high," recalled Rudess, who is the founder and producer of the Helen Hayes Youth Theatre, a summer camp for youngsters that called Riverspace home. "The seats were completely submerged."
Now, massive fans and teams of construction workers are laboring to dry out the building. Heaps of water-logged items sit in the lobby, waiting to be carted off.
Worse, the deluge occurred three days before Rudess' camp was set to kick off. The program runs from July 8 to August 20 and involves 300 kids that range from ages four to 17. "It was one of those situations where you don't sleep for a few days," Rudess said, noting the program had to think of solutions fast, or else face some very disappointed budding thespians.
Rudess found help at in West Nyack. The school's auditorium is usually booked each summer by the Clarkstown Summer Theatre, but the program is experiencing a rough patch. "We are saddened to report that CSTF will not have a show this year, due to these economic times that we are all living through," their site reads.
Rudess and her students will perform at the high school theater each Friday and Saturday night that the Helen Hayes Youth Theatre is in session. Rehearsals will continue at Rudess' space in downtown Nyack, just across the street from Riverspace. "Somehow, the rehearsal studio didn't see a drop of water," Rudess said.
Still, the new stage does not solve all problems. "The kids are really going to miss [downtown] Nyack," Rudess said. "It was always such a thrill for them to get lunch at and ice cream at ."
As for the future of Riverspace and the Helen Hayes Youth Theatre, Rudess is realistic. "Everyone is in a bit of shock. It was a significant disaster; we'll see where we go from here."
Earlier this month, the Village of Nyack , which includes the Riverspace real estate.