The night the lights went out in Philly - in the orchestra pit

Cellphone flashlights helped save the day when the Pennsylvania Ballet orchestra lost all lighting in the pit in the middle of a show.

The lights went out Thursday night for musicians playing at the Merriam Theater for the opening night of Pennsylvania Ballet’s “Romance” program.

The musicians' stand lights flickered for a while as the orchestra played Hershy Kay’s Western Symphony and the ballet company danced the Balanchine work on stage. Then, for many in the brass and woodwind sections, the lights went out altogether.

Some musicians were able to get out their cell phones to help light the way through the piece, while others played in the dark.

Two sections of the orchestra were in the dark during the Kay, which comes in the last third of the program. “It did not impact the show in a negative way,” said Leslie Patterson-Tyler, spokeswoman for the Kimmel Center, which owns the Merriam. “We are looking into why it happened to obviously prevent it from happening again.”

The orchestra just kept going. Said one listener who declined to be named: “I don’t know how they did it – they were amazing.”

Performances continue through the weekend. Cell phones, presumably, will be charged.