Best Flood Recovery (2002)
After Tropical Storm Allison, the Wortham Theater Center, home of the ballet and opera, had six feet of water in its basement. The two bottom floors of the Alley Theatre were totally submerged, ruining the stage, rehearsal hall and electrical systems. Jones Hall, home of Society for the Performing Arts and the Houston Symphony, was so full of water that desks floated away and expensive musical instruments were ruined. But the can-do spirit of the city prevailed, and a little over a year later, things are not only back to normal, they might be better than before. While the cancellation of some performances was inevitable, the arts groups got back on track as soon as possible (the symphony, for example, presented all its summer concerts at substitute locations). Jones Hall reopened in September; the Alley used the opportunity to enlarge its restrooms and lobby and work wonders with its smaller Neuhaus Stage. Under the guidance of Barry Mandel, executive director of the Theater District, and with the assistance of donations and federal funds, the city's arts groups truly embodied that dear old sentiment: The show must go on.