Marriott Theatre audiences aren't just loyal patrons. They're loyal patrons whose priorities are in order.
As a deluge flooded parking lots at the Lincolnshire resort and theater Wednesday, officials notified guests they were evacuating the hotel and canceling performances of its acclaimed show, "The Bridges of Madison County."
Everyone understood and cooperated, said Marriott Theatre executive director Terry James. That included a group of four lunchtime diners holding tickets for Wednesday's matinee, but they had one condition.
One of the women said, "I'm having dessert first," recalled James, speaking by cellphone from the darkened theater and resort, which remained without power Thursday afternoon.
The parking lots are underwater and impassable, James said, but neither the resort nor the theater sustained significant damage.
"You just can't get to it without a boat," he said.
About 30 theater employees -- mostly production and administrative staff members -- evacuated Wednesday, according to James, who said some resort guests used their vehicles to help ferry employees through the water to their cars.
Resort guests were relocated to other Marriott hotels, James said.
The resort will stay closed until the water recedes and electrical power and phone service are restored, said Kelli Hartsock, spokeswoman for General Manager Eric Bates. It's not clear how long that will take, she said.
Performances of Marriott's Chicago-area premiere of "The Bridges of Madison County" have been canceled through Sunday. This marks the second time the theater along the Des Plaines River has had to cancel performances due to a flood, and the first time it had to cancel a week's worth of performances.
The cancellations came during a sold-out week, James said, and that will require rescheduling more than 6,000 ticket holders. The run continues through Aug. 13, with the possibility of a week's extension, James said.
Beginning next week, ticketholders can call the box office at (847) 634-0200 to reschedule.
"When all is said and done there's nothing more important than the safety of our customers and our staff," James said, and guests were understanding. "There were people on property and in the restaurant, a lot of them were seniors, and there were all great about it."