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Volunteers Come Out To Help Historic Theater Recover From Flood

PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A lot of people spent Wednesday cleaning up after extensive flooding damage throughout the region.

On Long Island, a 170-year-old theater was left waterlogged. With more rain in the forecast, volunteers are working fast to clean up the damage.

Storms struck in the middle of auditions for a children's Christmas performance Tuesday. The flash flood became an instant show stopper for "Theatre Three," a landmark non-profit billed as "Broadway on Main Street" in Port Jefferson.

MORE: Tri-State Cleans Up From Dangerous Flooding As More Rain Approaches

"Pouring, pouring in and violently… things being lifted up and banged against the walls," Jeffrey Sanzel, the executive artistic director at Theatre Three said.

"We just grabbed whatever we could to get up on higher ground, unfortunately it wasn't high enough," Brian Hoerger added.

Three and a half feet of water flooded their ground floor, second stage, costume and props rooms, set design workshops, and offices.

Theatre Three in Port Jefferson. (Credit: CBS2)

The flooded landmark has now been overwhelmed by an outpouring of help. An entire cast of volunteers worked tirelessly on Wednesday to sop up the muck.

It's a labor of love for a performing arts space that's been in Port Jefferson for 50 years.

"It's more than just a theater, it's a home, it's a family and that's why all these people come out," Suzie Dunn told CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff.

The historic building was originally a Vaudeville house. Insurance only covers the theater's contents, so now there is an urgent appeal for donations. The main stage was not damaged, but lighting and soundboards housed in the basement were flooded.

Village officials estimate that the flooding caused at least $500,000 in damage to several businesses.

Theatre Three says weekend performances are still on schedule as the group insists the show must go on. Anyone looking to help the theater's fundraising efforts can donate here.

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