Wyly Theatre Was Accidentally Drenched During Fire System Test, Causing April Cancellations

A third party vendor activated the "deluge curtain" during a routine test of the Wyly Theatre's fire system.
A third party vendor activated the "deluge curtain" during a routine test of the Wyly Theatre's fire system. Iwan Baan
Flooding in the Texas springtime is not unusual. But the Dallas Theater Center is suffering flood damage for reasons completely unrelated to weather.

Last week, during a routine test of the fire system, an outside vendor triggered the release of the fire suppression pipe, or “deluge curtain,” which dumped water onto the Wyly Theatre’s main stage, Potter Rose Performance Hall. This soaked the stage and the spaces beneath it.

Chris Heinbaugh, vice president of external affairs for AT&T Performing Arts Center, says they’ve had crews working to dry everything out and are assessing the extent of the damage and time needed for repairs.

“That will help us determine the impact on any shows or events scheduled for the main stage. Everything above the main stage, including the 6th Floor Studio Theatre, was not affected, so anything set for that space, such as the Prism Co production of Medea Myth: Love’s Beginning for the Elevator Project, will not be affected.” That production opens April 13.

Other performances won’t be so lucky. The disastrous amount of water in the theater has meant the cancellation and postponement of several events at the Wyly, including last Friday and Saturday’s #hearhere series performance featuring humorist Fran Lebowitz.

Tom Dugan was scheduled to give four performances of his one-man show Wiesenthal in the Wyly Theatre this week. Wiesenthal is based on the life story of Nazi hunter and Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal, who brought more than 1,000 Nazi war criminals to justice. Last April, Dugan brought the show to Richardson’s Eisemann Center.

Wiesenthal will now be performed for one night only, Wednesday, April 5. The venue is yet to be determined. At this time, ATTPAC is not planning to reschedule the other dates.

Heinbaugh says the flood will not affect DTC’s Electra, which is staged outside in Annette Strauss Square.

There’s no word yet from ATTPAC on when the stage will be repaired, or how extensive the damage looks at this time. Luckily, DTC’s next production, Inherit the Wind, which opens May 16, will be performed at the Kalita Humphreys Theater on Turtle Creek Boulevard.
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Katy Lemieux is a Dallas-based writer covering theater and the arts. She is a mother to two beautiful human children and three beautiful animal children. She has been published in Esquire Magazine, Texas Monthly, D Magazine, TheaterJones, American Theatre Magazine and most notably The Senior Voice.