How a TV commercial drew Broadway crowds right after 9/11

NATHAN LANE, performer Everyone was shocked by what happened. And people feared it would happen again. “The Producers” had opened and p...


NATHAN LANE, performer Everyone was shocked by what happened. And people feared it would happen again. “The Producers” had opened and played all summer, then it was fall. We went back on a Thursday, all because of [then Mayor] Rudy Giuliani – that’s before he rages [expletive]. It was wrong to come home so quickly. And yet we were trying to do something positive.

DREW HODGES, Founder, SpotCo Advertising Agency Something like five days later, we were back in the office and trying to figure out what to do. We had this idea of ​​doing a TV commercial, getting everyone to Times Square. Barry Weissler, the producer of “Chicago”, was a friend. We went to him and said, “We have this idea, help us take it forward and pass it on to more powerful people. And I believe he said, “I was thinking the same thing.”

BARRY WEISSLER, producer We knew we wanted to sing “New York, New York”. What else? It was an idea that arose from my meeting with Jed [Bernstein, former Broadway League president], saying we should bring the entire Broadway community together in one place to celebrate humanity – tragedy aside, 9/11 aside. Let’s celebrate Broadway, humanity and life.

BERNADETTE PETERS, performer Of course, New York was afraid. We were worried: will this happen again? But we just had to be brave and let people know it was time to take New York back.

JERRY MITCHELL, choreographer Drew Hodges called me and said, “We’re getting ready to do a commercial. We shoot in Times Square. I’ll have all the actors before their morning. Do you want to choreograph her? I said, “Absolutely, what do you need?” He sent me the song, and I had 12 dancers, I think, with me. I choreographed a little something for them that night. And the next morning we met at the Booth Theater [functioning as a green room]. I went up on stage, and there was the Broadway community, in costume, sitting in the audience.

CHRIS BONEAU, publicist [Producers] They were told, “We need two people to do this, and it must be Nathan and Matthew. [Broderick]. Or, “That can be three costumed characters, and these are the ones we’d love to have.” You have to hand it over to the people who messed it up. I mean, there were so many people backstage doing whatever it is. ‘they could to make it right now, because you only had one chance to do it.

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Newsrust - US Top News: How a TV commercial drew Broadway crowds right after 9/11
How a TV commercial drew Broadway crowds right after 9/11
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