SOPAC will be closed until Oct. 1 due to storm damage

sopac storm damage

The South Orange Performing Arts Center posted these photos on its website, giving patrons some idea of the storm damage suffered by the theater and its surrounding area.

All shows through Sept. 30 at the South Orange Performing Arts Center — including concerts by Suzanne Vega, Los Lobos, Al Stewart and the Milk Carton Kids — have been postponed, as the theater closes temporarily to deal with damage caused by Tropical Storm Ida. SOPAC had been planning to return to full capacity shows this month, after being closed or presenting limited capacity shows during the pandemic.

The following message was posted on the venue’s website, sopacnow.org:

There was a performance at SOPAC on September 1 when Tropical Storm Ida reached our region. Three SOPAC staff remained on premises throughout the evening and into the morning. They provided shelter and assistance to NJ Transit train passengers who were returning home and they immediately responded to water coming into the building through the entrances, through the west-facing windows and through the roof.

We are hugely indebted to the immediate response and efforts of the staff members who remained at SOPAC overnight. Without their immediate response and ongoing efforts, damages sustained to the building would have been far greater. The flood damage also reached their personal cars in the NJ Transit parking lot, which were ultimately totaled.

SOPAC staff continued to work long hours and through the holiday weekend with the optimistic outlook that we could reopen for performances starting September 10. A remediation crew was quickly identified and brought on site. However, once the damages were thoroughly assessed, and the extent of necessary repairs determined, we were left with no choice but to cancel events for the remainder of the month.

Areas identified as suffering damage include “walls & insulation in lobby & theatre,” “carpeting in lobby and theatre,” “orchestra pit,” “production equipment,” “first floor restrooms,” “elevator shaft” and “roof damage which expedites the need for replacement.”

Donations to help SOPAC get through this difficult time can be made at sopacnow.org/donate.

Shows to be rescheduled include Eric Hutchinson, Sept. 10; Suzanne Vega, Sept. 11; Motor City Revue, Sept. 17; Al Stewart, Sept. 18; Leonid & Friends, Sept. 19; Los Lobos, Sept. 23; John Pizzarelli and Catherine Russell, Sept. 25; and The Milk Carton Kids, Sept. 30. The new dates are not yet available.

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