Broadway Belters Take Times Square

October 26, 2000, 12:00 AM EDT

Broadway On Broadway outdoor concert Times Square Sunday, 09.10.00, 12 PM to 2 PM
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Broadway On Broadway, an annual outdoor event presented in Times Square by Continental Airlines and American Express, gave a glimpse of the upcoming Broadway season to more than 40,000 theatergoers and passersby. The first performance was set to begin at noon, but didn't start until more than 15 minutes later. The late start and the introductions of New York Yankees' announcer Bob Sheppard and Mayor Giuliani seemed to agitate many concertgoers. (A few screamed, ”What's he got to do with Broadway?")

To appease the crowd, young men passed out red and white felt Cat in the Hat top hats (to promote the musical Suessical) and flimsy Chicago paper fans. Soon weatherman Al Roker and stand-up comedian Mario Cantone began a live NBC broadcast of the event, taunting each other with jokes. “Don't make me come down there, Mario,” Roker said, in his best Goodfellas accent. (We could tell he'd been practicing.)

Despite its tardy commencement, notable performances by Cheryl Ladd, Lea Thompson, Jasmine Guy, Sebastian Bach, Betty Buckley and the Rent cast, pleased the crowd. The American Theater Orchestra, under the direction of Paul Gemignani, accompanied the performers.

Unfortunately Broadway On Broadway's stage signage wasn't that easy to see and lacked creativity--but perhaps we were distracted by the tacky, overpowering WWF billboard. But the huge Panasonic Astrovision sign showed NBC's live broadcast, so even the folks in back could watch the show.

--Allegra Muzzillo

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