Entertainment & Arts

Hurricane Sandy closes Broadway shows

The Lion King
Image caption The Lion King is just one of the Broadway shows to cancel performances

Hit Broadway shows The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark are among the New York productions which have closed in preparation for Hurricane Sandy.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg had announced the city's subway, buses and trains would be halted on Sunday night.

All Broadway performances on Sunday and Monday night were scrapped.

Several film events were cancelled too, including the New York premiere of Keira Knightley film Anna Karenina.

The British actress was due to attend Tuesday night's premiere in Union Square, along with director Joe Wright, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

New York screenings of several films, including Denzel Washington's Flight, have also been cancelled.

Nearly all cinemas closed their doors by late Sunday afternoon, sending their staff home until at least Tuesday.

It is not known how long Broadway's lights will stay out as the densely-populated city awaits the arrival of the storm, with productions of Evita, Mary Poppins and Chicago affected, along with several off-Broadway plays.

A statement on The Broadway League's website said performances were cancelled, "as a result of the suspension of public transportation by government authorities in preparation for the incoming storm".

Executive director Charlotte St Martin added that "the safety and security of theatregoers and employees is everyone's primary concern."

Mayor Bloomberg has also suspended all of New York's outdoor shooting permits until further notice, affecting several TV shows such as Blue Bloods, Elementary, The Good Wife, Gossip Girl and The Carrie Diaries.

Image caption British band The xx have postponed the rest of their US tour until 2013

Meanwhile the music world has also been affected, with acts such as Mercury prize-winners The xx, Rita Ora and John Legend all cancelling US shows.

Legend scrapped Sunday night's scheduled performance at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, while British band The xx have postponed the last leg of their US tour, including dates in the Bronx, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

As Hurricane Sandy approaches, schools, businesses and government departments have all closed, while hundreds of thousands are being advised to evacuate and seek higher ground.

The storm, which forecasters say could be the largest ever to hit the US mainland, is expected to topple trees, damage buildings and cause widespread power cuts and flooding when it moves inland.

Hurricane Sandy has already passed through the Caribbean, killing more than 60 people.

Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington DC and parts of North Carolina have all declared a state of emergency.

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