Stars join Parkland students for benefit concert

Matthew Morrison rehearses with Stoneman Douglas senior Kali Clougherty for Monday's benefit concert.

Sunrise, Florida (CNN)Drama students past and present shared the stage Monday night for a benefit concert featuring stars and survivors of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

"From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Parkland, USA" featured a star-studded roster of Broadway and television entertainers, including "Glee" actor Matthew Morrison, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" star Rachel Bloom and award-winning recording artist Deborah Cox.
More than 4,700 people attended the concert at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, organizers said. The celebrity entertainers performed with Stoneman Douglas students and local arts groups, including the Student Choir of Broward and Dance Theatre of Broward, on a program that ranged from upbeat and inspirational to reflective and moving to fun and silly.
    Despite the circumstances that brought them together, Bloom said the chemistry among the performers was instantly palpable. After all, the celebrity performers were once theater kids, she said.
    "Tonight is about them and I'm happy to be here and support them. The kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas are doing what the arts are supposed to do -- they are channeling their intense feelings and rage and thoughts into their art, which is a way to communicate with people and make the world better," Bloom said in an interview before the show.
    "This is an example of why theater and the arts in schools is so important," she said. "It makes me proud to be a fellow theater kid seeing what all these people are doing with theater and music."

    'A healing night'

    The concert opened with a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," sung by "Mamma Mia!" actress Carrie Manolakos and a choir of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students. Former "American Idol" contestant Justin Guarini performed a song written by a Stoneman Douglas student.
    Deborah Cox crooned "I Will Always Love You" as images of the 17 victims flashed behind her. The dance group that victim Jaime Guttenberg belonged to staged an emotional performance that elicited cheers of "We love you, Jaime" as the dancers left the spotlight.