Matinee and evening performances of two productions housed in the new Theatre Row complex at 410 West 42nd Street in Manhattan were canceled today --Saturday, January 18 -- due to flooding.

A theatergoer who showed up at the complex to attend the New Group's production of Trevor Griffiths' Comedians in the Samuel Beckett Theatre reported that he found the building cordoned off with yellow tape. He was told that a pipe had burst and that this in turn had set off the building's sprinkler system, causing flooding of the lobby and box office areas.

Reached by telephone, Raúl Esparza -- who is featured in Comedians with Jim Dale, David McCallum, David Lansbury, and others -- wasn't sure exactly what had caused the situation but said that flooding had necessitated the building's water supply being cut off. "It's a shame," Esparza continued, "because I really like doing the show. We were going to have good houses today, and I had friends coming. I was talking to Jim Dale and we were both really disappointed. You get into a mindset where you're ready to go on stage and then, suddenly, it doesn't happen." Esparza said that the show was canceled less than half an hour before it was scheduled to begin.

The Theater Row complex comprises five performance venues: the Acorn, the Kirk, the Lion, the Beckett, and the Clurman. Aside from Comedians, the only other show currently running there is Class Mothers '68 at the Clurman, starring Priscilla Lopez. (The Mercy Seat, with Sigourney Weaver and Liev Schreiber, closed at the Acorn on January 15).

Though no official spokesman was immediately reachable by telephone or available for comment at the building, a staff member on duty at the stage door about 2:30pm today told TheaterMania that performances scheduled for Saturday afternoon and evening had been canceled. She could not say for sure when the two productions would be up and running again but said it was her understanding that the sprinkler system needed to be repaired first. In a subsequent communication, Peter Bloch -- general manager of the complex -- told TheaterMania that cleanup crews were at work and that he expected performances to resume with tomorrow's matinees. Bloch said that he also wasn't sure exactly what had gone wrong with the plumbing but he believed that a sprinkler valve had burst or malfunctioned.

Theatergoers holding tickets to the canceled performances can obtain refunds or exchanges at the box office or by phoning Ticket Central at 212-279-4200.