Rising river threatens theater, artist studios

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Frank Theatre’s production of “Cabaret” may have to cancel its Sunday permormance on the Centennial Showboat due to rising water levels.

They say a rising tide lifts all boats… but in this case, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Frank Theatre, which has been performing “Cabaret” on the stage of the Centennial Showboat, has just announced that it’s no longer selling tickets to its Sunday performance.

An e-mail sent out this afternoon put it this way:

News from the Padelford folks today was not good. We are no longer selling any tickets for Sunday as it looks like the river is gonna trump Frank. We anticipate an official announcement of cancellation of Sunday’s matinee tomorrow, after the water level projections are released.

The staff at Frank Theatre encourage people who already have tickets for Sunday’s show to call the Showboat ticket office to reschedule – (651) 227 1100. The best availabilities are for tonight’s performance.

Meanwhile, this morning MPR’s Laura Yuen reported that flood preparations are the prime concern of artists in the Lowertown neighborhood of St. Paul. Here’s an excerpt:

The Mississippi in St. Paul has been rising about two feet a day. Crews are assembling an earthen levee along Shepard Road. And large pumps in Lowertown — one of the lowest-lying neighborhoods in the city — have been diverting floodwater out of the sewer system.

Artists who live in one residential building have built sandbag turrets around the drainage holes in their parking lot. That way, they hope to keep floodwaters from backing out of the drains and into their living spaces.

Sol Squire, the president of the Tilsner Artists Cooperative, calls this area “Sandbaghdad.”

“The three drains that are here, this is the place where the flood will come up for the first time, when it happens,” he said. “To build an appropriate barrier, 3-4 feet high, broad at the base, is a serious undertaking, especially for us arty types, who aren’t accustomed to that much strain.”

Constructing a barrierSquire says sandbagging is an annual ritual for Lowertown residents. The city is preparing for a deluge next week that could be on par with the flood of 2001, the third-highest on record.

That kind of flooding would easily submerge riverfront parks and force the downtown airport to deploy its floodwalls.

And of course, flooding in southeastern Minnesota is also likely to be dire for riverfront communities.

Is flooding having an impact on your production or other artistic activity/livelihood? Let us know in the comments section.

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