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America Under Attack: Broadway: The Show Must Go On

Aired September 14, 2001 - 04:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GARRICK UTLEY, CNN ANCHOR: we're going to talk not so much about that rescue worker -- the rescue work, the workers are still there at the scene, but another example, another test of how difficult it is for people in New York to adjust as life begins to return to normal.

Case in point, Broadway. The theaters went dark. They were closed for two nights because of the tragedy. On Thursday night they reopened. The lights were there, the bands were playing, the curtain went up and the big hit on Broadway is "The Producers," a big hit. Each seat ticket costs about $100. You can't get a ticket until the end of 2002. People would sell their soul, perhaps sacrifice their firstborn to get in, you just can't do it, forget it. If you're not familiar with "The Producers," suffice it to say it's a Mel Brooks musical comedy with the emphasis on comedy, which involves Adolf Hitler. I'll not go into any details, but it does work as a hit.

Anyway, tonight the curtain went up the first time after the tragedy. There were 100 cancellations. One hundred people felt for as long as I've waited for this great opportunity, this night in the theater, I couldn't really bring myself to face it. A sign of our times these days in New York City, and Laurin Sydney reports on the theater today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(SINGING)

LAURIN SYDNEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the first time in Broadway history, other than during labor disputes, the show people were silenced for three performances in a row. But on Thursday when regular performances resumed, the old adage the show must go on rang true.

TOM SELLECK, ACTOR: It's going to be a little weird. I don't know what to expect, and I don't know whether anybody will come.

SYDNEY: But they did come with mixed emotions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel bad. I just feel that there's 8,000 people buried two miles away and I'm here at a show that's going to be laughing. I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't sit and watch it anymore. I can't listen to the names being called out, and it breaks my heart and I know it breaks everybody's heart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've waited a long time, you know. I got the tickets a long time ago, and I don't think it does anybody any good if I don't go.

SYDNEY: Before the curtain went up, all 23 Broadway houses respectfully dimmed their lights. When the lights went back on at the hit show "The Producers," the audience was met by the show's producer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each and everyone of you has said tonight by coming here, I'm not afraid.

SYDNEY: Nor were the show's stars, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.

NATHAN LANE, ACTOR: We all have to try because otherwise, in a sense, they win and they are robbing us of our -- of our lives and they've already taken too much.

MATTHEW BRODERICK, ACTOR: No, I love it here. You know I love this city, and it's part of what makes me sad is that they -- those bastards attacked this city.

SYDNEY: Broadway, like the rest of the nation, is beginning its healing process.

(SINGING "GOD BLESS AMERICA")

(END VIDEOTAPE)

UTLEY: And that great song by New York's Irving Berlin, well that says it all, doesn't it.

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