Free Broadway Concert Underway
BROADWAY MAGAZINE – The clouds may be hovering and gray, but the Broadway fans would not be turned away as thousands packed the heart of Times Square for the annual free concert known as Broadway on Broadway on Sunday September 12 at 11:30 in the morning. Sponsored by The Broadway League, the concert allows audiences to enjoy a free sample of all their favorite productions and meet some of the new entries for the Broadway season too.
While one weather prognosticator suggested there was a 85% chance of rain at the concert’s start time of 11:30, the theatre gods smiled on the occasion and the fans have remained mostly dry. Each year, the concert attracts an eclectic audience of Broadway veteran theater-goers and those who may have never been to a Broadway show.
From Columbia University came a group of young woman, destined to be known as the Columbia Broadway Six. Rising early Sara took her place with her friends in Times Square at approximately 6:45 a.m. They were not alone. Crowds gathered as early as 5 a.m. to get a prime spot for the event.
Soon, Sara’s sister Naomi arrived, and though they did not get the prized wrist-bands for front row seating (the worm given to the first 60 early-bird-fans in Times Square), they were on the front row of their section of Times Square. It was a prime spot in itself, and quite close to the stage. “I love this space,” said Sara, “we’re in the front of the crowd.”
Naomi was looking forward to seeing performances from “Memphis, Stomp, and the rendition of Empire State of Mind.” The latter will feature newly married Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of In The Heights.
For the record, the rest of the Columbia Broadway Six are Rachel from Boston, Elizabeth and Savannah from San Francisco, and Onella who arrived two weeks ago from Sri Lanka. United by their enjoyment of live theater and gathered together under a cloudy sky, the group was unfazed by the potential for a storm.
“I have a hoodie,” smiles Sara.
Nearby stood another pair of Broadway fans. These two came to New York from Florida for the sole purpose of seeing the Broadway on Broadway concert. With smiles under the stormy sky, Patti made the journey to Times Square as a birthday present for her daughter Joy. The mother and daughter team were looking forward to seeing performances from a range of shows including classics like Phantom Of The Opera and Wicked, Next To Normal, and Billy Elliot.
They arrived on Thursday night and took time to take in a pair of shows
“We saw Chicago Friday night and A Little Night Music last night,” shares Joy.
“A Little Night Music wasn’t so great, but we got to see Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch” said Patti, who enjoyed the select performances even if she found the production less than satisfying. She loved the dancing in Chicago too. The two took in their first Broadway show only a few months ago, when they enjoyed the revival of Promises, Promises. Now, they are clearly bitten by the Broadway bug.
“It is easy to get that way,” says Patti, describing their passion for coming up to New York to see shows. “We go to the box office the day of the show to get good tickets.”
However, this morning the tickets for Broadway on Broadway are free, and the seating is the glorious canyon of Times Square itself. In a matter of moments, a parade of the best Broadway performers playing will take to the stage and share their talent with a grand audience. It is a rare and special occasion that is worth braving the elements and rising early to enjoy.
Check out complete HD video and photos from the event right here on Broadway.tv and look for additional features in the pages of Broadway Magazine. Also, follow us on Twitter for more Broadway than you can handle.
- By Christopher Moore, Broadway Magazine
Photo of Columbia Broadway 6 (L to R) Sara, Rachel, Naomi, Elizabeth, Onella, Savannah.
Photo of Joy and Patti (L to R) Joy, Patti