An estimated 40,000 people attended Broadway’s centennial birthday bash Wednesday in Times Square.
The second annual “Broadway on Broadway” free outdoor concert showcased every musical currently on Broadway and a few long gone, providing the legit industry with nearly two hours of uninterrupted celebration and show-plugging.
The concert, sponsored by the League of American Theaters & Producers and the Times Square Business Improvement District, with underwriting from American Express, went off without a hitch, although it took longer to reach its confetti-filled finale than planned. Scheduled for 75 minutes, the show finished at just under two hours.
With Times Square closed to traffic, a lengthy roster of current stars performed on a stage on Broadway between West 43rd and West 44th streets, with the crowd of onlookers stretching back several blocks.
“The Goodbye Girl’s” Martin Short was joined in his hosting duties by Lynn Redgrave, Chita Rivera, Mickey Rooney, Stephen Spinella, Ben Vereen and Brent Carver.
Each Broadway musical was represented by a song, and even “Fool Moon’s” wordless clown duo of Bill Irwin and David Shiner joined the Red Clay Ramblers for a gospel music spoof from their show.
Postmaster General Marvin Runyon introduced four commemorative postage stamps honoring Broadway’s centennial with images from “Show Boat,””My Fair Lady, “”Oklahoma!” and “Porgy and Bess.” Signature tunes from each of those musicals were performed.
Highlights of the concert included a rousing “Pinball Wizard” from “The Who’s Tommy” and “Ol’ Man River” from “Show Boat,” the latter performed by Michel Warren Bell, a cast member of the musical’s upcoming Toronto production.