But Broadway shows hesitantly opened back up for business Thursday night, heeding the calls from officials to try to get back to work--and perhaps more importantly, give New Yorkers a diversion (however small or temporary) from this week's devastating attacks on the World Trade Center.
Theaters dimmed their marquee lights at 8 p.m. to remember the thousands who died in New York and Washington, D.C., while many actors shared their grief, observed moments of silence and led audiences in singing "God Bless America."
"It is such a privilege for us to perform for you tonight and to see you made a choice to come out, to laugh and most importantly to carry on and not be ruled by fear," Valerie Harper told an audience at The Allergist's Wife, playing at the Barrymore Theatre. "Thank you for joining us tonight and God Bless America".
Over at A Thousand Clowns, Tom Selleck voiced his initial uncertainty about whether Broadway should have reopened.
"I was real ambivalent, but I think it's important we send a signal that we're not going to be defeated," he said, according to the New York Daily News. Several city cops, he said, told him "'you must--the best thing you can do for a city is make us laugh."
Others returning to their shows Thursday night included Brooke Shields, who asked the crowd for a moment of silence following a performance of Cabaret, and The Music Man's Robert Sean Leonard, who joined the cast in a rendition of "God Bless America," according to NY1 Television.
Elsewhere in New York's entertainment community, the mourning (and uncertainty) continued. Many shows connected to the now-postponed CMJ Music Marathon and Film Fest were either canceled or quickly turned into benefit concerts.
World famous music club CBGB, located in downtown Manhattan, plans to reopen Monday. The Bowery Ballroom will host World Trade Center benefit shows Saturday and Sunday, with proceeds going to disaster relief. And Southern California metal-rockers Incubus are still expected to play two sold-out dates Saturday and Sunday at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom.
An up-to-date list of cancellations and rescheduled concerts and off-Broadway shows can be found at the Website Meanwhile, comedian Denis Leary announced that he has set up the Leary Firefighters Foundation Fund for New York's Bravest, which will provide assistance to firefighters and their families. The foundation is an offshoot of the one Leary originally set up to help families of the firefighters who died in a Worcester, Massachusetts, blaze. To donate, make checks payable to LFF Fund for New York's Bravest, and send c/o Front Row Associates, 581 Boylston Street, Suite 402, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116.
The foundation is an offshoot of the one Leary originally set up to help families of the firefighters who died in a Worcester, Massachusetts, blaze.
To donate, make checks payable to LFF Fund for New York's Bravest, and send c/o Front Row Associates, 581 Boylston Street, Suite 402, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116.