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Clarkstown South High School Rescues Flood-Displaced Helen Hayes Youth Camp

Performers Finally Finds New Home Following Storm In Nyack In June
Helen Hayes Youth Theatre Camp

Without a home for weeks due to a flood, members of the Helen Hayes Youth Theatre Camp got a gift when Clarkstown North High School agreed to let them perform in the school’s theater. (Photo: CBS 2)

WEST NYACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — They lost their theater and thought they’d lost their dreams.

But despite the odds, a Rockland County youth theater group somehow managed to get both back.

CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport spoke to the kids on Thursday, just hours before their opening night.

For the costumed cuties of the Helen Hayes Youth Theatre Camp, it’s a magical time. It was just hours before opening night, a night they thought they might never see.

“I was just like oh thank God,” Sam Rodd said.

“We had no idea,” Adam Feldman added.

Riverspace theater

Workers spent June 27, 2011, trying to clean up the disaster inside the Riverspace theater following last week's flooding in Rockland County. (Photo: CBS 2)

It was a dream that many here thought had been literally washed away.

A couple weeks ago a torrential storm turned the streets of Nyack into a river, severely flooding the theater where the kids hold their performances with up to 8 feet of water at the height of it. It made the facility virtually uninhabitable, leaving the kids stuck in a rehearsal studio with no place to perform and crushed because of it.

“It’s very sad. Everything’s very sad,” 11-year-old Feldman said at the time.

But from the murky depths of despair came a ray of hope.

Earlier this week, nearby Clarkstown South High School stepped up, offering its theater for the youngsters to perform.

It was a theatrical lifeline and now the show will go on.

“It’s such a relief. We thought that we would be out on the street doing the show. We didn’t know where we were supposed to go,” Feldman said.

“It’s fun being ‘The Wiz’ ‘cause I have an awesome hat,” Rodd added with a chuckle.

Amidst the chaos of final rehearsals you will find the sweet smiles of salvation that come from kids doing what they love, and from the youth theater’s founder and director.

“We’re just very, very lucky,” Danielle Rudess said.

A flood of relief indeed.

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