The Great White Way Rolls Out The Red Carpet

Broadway-on-Broadway, the annual kick-off to the theater season, recently played to an overflow crowd at the Cross Roads of the World, Times Square, New York City.

Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of the Broadway League and Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance open the show!

The crowd of about 50,000 thousand die hard Broadway fans lined the streets of midtown Manhattan to usher in the 2008-2009 Broadway season. Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of the Broadway League, and Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance opened the show with a rousing welcome to the theater fans who woke early on a Sunday morning to be a part of what is a tradition for opening the Broadway season.

The crowd of 50,000 plus extends up Broadway past the NYPD barricades. *

Stage and screen alum Bebe Neuwirth, known also as the feminist fighting psychologist Lilith on the hit series Cheers and tony winner in the long running musical Chicago, made a guest appearance lending her support to the theater community. Her performance served as introduction for the Broadway Concierge.

The Broadway Concierge is the Broadway Alliance’s newest, and most convenient, way to purchase tickets to same day performances as well as receive information and meet current Broadway performers. The Broadway Concierge, located inside the Times Square Information Center between 46th and 47th streets, does not replace TKTS booths where theater goers can get quality seats at discount prices for same day performances.

The Broadway Concierge located inside the Times Square Information Center.

The overflow crowd, that extended past 47th Street, enjoyed current Chicago headliner Tom Wopat who treated the fans with his solo number, All I Care About, from the hit musical.  With feathers flying, he performed as master mind attorney Billy Flynn convincing the crowd that yes, all he cares about is love . . . the love of justice, helping his fellow man . . . yes, yes, we do believe it!

Chicago's Tom Wopat performs, "All I Care About."

The line-up for the free preview included the crème de la crème of New York’s Great White Way including the only all teen cast performing from the hit musical 13. Full cast performances also included Legally Blonde's who performed with their newest star, Bailey Hanks, a relativey unknown that won the lead role of Elle Woods after an open national casting search to replace exiting star Laura Bell Bundy and also the cast from Billy Elliot, the Irish saga of a crippling strike and the solidarity that binds them together.

The cast of Billy Elliot with Drew Lachey finish the show!

The fans were treated to a winter wonderland introducing Irving Berlin’s White Christmas with cast members in full costume braving the suddenly 98 degree heat as the midday sun peaked over the tall buildings and roasted the outdoor crowd. The limited run for Irving Berlin’s White Christmas begins in previews on November 14, 2008 and continues through Sunday, January 4th 2009.

A Winter Wonderland as Broadway gets ready for the limited engagement of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas."

Fans were also treated to performances by members of Disney’s long running The Lion King and The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins. Momma Mia, The Phantom of the Opera, A Tale of Two Cities, Wicked, Xanadu, Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein, [Title of Show] and Avenue Q. Frank Longoria, from Jersey Boy’s, the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, gave another excellent performance with Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.

The Cast of Avenue Q perform, "It Sucks to Be Me."

The revival of Gypsy starring Patti Lupone proved to be an eye opener as the ladies of Gypsy performed, You Gotta Have a Gimmick, introducing the audience to the world of burlesque stripping and the lights, horns and whistles necessary to create a stripping sensation in the 1920’s. The audience was also wowed by former American Idol sensation Ace Young performing as Kenickie in Grease.

Former American Idol, Ace Young performs as Kenickie in the hit musical Grease.

Dancing With the Stars season two winner, Drew Lachaey, hosted the event along with John Leguizama who took over for the double duty Drew while he performed with his cast mates Always look on the Bright Side of Life from the long running, and hilariously funny, Monty Python’s Spamalot. Leguizama, along with Cedric The Entertainer and Haley Joel Osment star in the David Mamet play American Buffalo which opens in late October.

Drew Lachey and the cast of Spamalot perform, "Always look on the Bright Side of Life."

Members of Broadway’s newest sensation, The Heights, the story of coming of age in America and the reflections of life given after the sacrifices of their Puerto Rican born parents, treated the crowd to the tunes of a tony award winning score.

The tony award winning "The Heights."

Broadway is headed toward a revival season with, the critically acclaimed musical from the 1970’s, Hair returning to the Broadway stage after a sensational summer season at the Delacorte Theater, New York’s free summer theater, located in Central Park.  Country meets the Cross Roads of the World as the smash hit Pure Country heats up the theater and also the ladies of Dolly Parton’s 9-5 which will open this season and is already playing in Los Angeles to rave reviews.

Chicago alum, Bebe Neuwirth and current Chicago headliner Tom Wopat.

From the Tony award winning The Heights to the longest running Phantom of the Opera the Great White Way promises another great season of show stopping tunes and timeless tales of forbidden love.

With Frank Sinatra's, New York, New York in the background a blizzard of confetti fell from the tall buildings ushering in the Broadway season.

Broadway on Broadway is sponsored by The New York Times as well as Continental Airlines additional sponsors include the Theater Development Fund, the Music Performance FundNYC & Company. Special thanks to ABC Supersign, The Brooklyn Diner, Clear Channel Communications, Hard Rock Café, Hershey’s Juniors, M&M’s World New York, MTV, NASDAQ, Panasonic, Thomson Reuters, Toshiba and Wrigley.

Broadway on Broadway. **


For more information on everything Broadway: or

For more information The  Broadway Concierge

Photos, except where designated, courtesy of Emile Wamsteker.

All others (*) by Janet Walker courtesy of Pulse Point Productions, Inc.:

** Graphic courtesy of The Broadway Alliance.

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