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Jones Beach Theater Reopens Friday Night, 7 Months After Sandy Devastation

Reconstruction Cost More Than $20 Million, But Was Fast-Tracked

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WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – After being inundated by the floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy, the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater is ready to reopen Friday night.

Rascal Flatts was rehearsing on the stage on Thursday. The band will open the season and bass player Jay DeMarcus said he thinks that’s important.

“We feel a sense of responsibility to have the platform that we do to inspire people to help each other,” he told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

Nikon At Jones Beach Theater following superstorm Sandy (via Peter Haskell / WCBS 880)

Nikon At Jones Beach Theater following superstorm Sandy (via Peter Haskell / WCBS 880)

“Everything in the theater was twisted. The infrastructure was damaged,” state Parks Dept. spokesman George Gorman said. “The extent of flooding, the extent of damage, was unbearable.”

Gorman said he is thrilled by the re-opening.

“It is amazing and it’s what Long Islanders need. It’s what we’ve worked for,” he said of the reconstruction, which cost more than $20 million.

“We’re proud to be a part of this,” DeMarcus added.

Rascal Flatts rehearses at the Nikon At Jones Beach Theater - May 30, 2013 (credit: Peter Haskell / WCBS 880)

Rascal Flatts rehearses at the Nikon At Jones Beach Theater – May 30, 2013 (credit: Peter Haskell / WCBS 880)

Rebuilding was funded by insurance and fast-tracked by the state, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported. The star-studded re-birth comes seven months after Sandy dumped four feet of water and seaweed on stages, seating, and concession stands, and destroyed nine miles of cabling.

John Aarons of Live Nation said he never had a doubt the theater would come back.

“We were able to get what should have taken a year’s worth of work finished in approximately four months,” he said.

Concert-goers used to the old Jones Beach Theater will notice a number of upgrades, including new seating, a stage rebuilt from scratch, and upgraded concession stands.

The Band Perry will join Rascal Flatts on Friday. Ke$ha and Pitbull will perform on Saturday. And a full 33-concert lineup is planned for the summer.

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