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Broadway Hits the Road for a New York City Thank You to America

New York wants to thank America for its tremendous outpouring of support after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the city's World Trade Center. What better way than to bring a little of Broadway to the rest of the country? The city is sending a troupe of Broadway performers around the country to entertain Americans with excerpts from Broadway musicals.

Featuring selections from Broadway hits such as Cabaret, Les Miserables, Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, and Rent, the musical revue will tour 14 American cities in 16 days. The troupe of Broadway performers is part of a New York City initiative to thank America for its help after September 11, and to help stimulate tourism to the city.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, when New York needed the rest of the country, the rest of the country came to New York. Now, it's time for the "Big Apple" to say 'thank you.' But, he says, that's only half of the playbill (program). "The other half, obviously, is to tell everybody that New York is open for business and open for labor, and we want people to come here and experience the greatest city on earth," he said. "And since about 1824, when legitimate theater started on the Bowery and on Broadway, the one thing that epitomizes New York to every American, in fact, everybody around the world, is Broadway."

If America can't come to Broadway, the city has decided to bring Broadway to America. Jed Bernstein, the president of the League of American Theatres and Producers, said Broadway is New York City's most exportable asset, representing a commitment to free expression and art. "We can't pick up the Statue of Liberty and cart it around the country," he said. "We can't take the collections off the walls at the "Met" (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and take the paintings and sculptures around, but Broadway can be a stand-in for all those things. And it can be a message to the rest of the country that the way they reacted to us these four months has meant a great deal to us."

The free musical review will stop at cities such as Washington, Denver, Los Angeles, Houston, and New Orleans. Singer and actress Sandy Duncan are taking the show on the road. "We're going to do it from the bottom of our hearts, and we're going to do it with great love and great respect," she said. "And I think we will be able to, hopefully, communicate to America how deeply we all thank them."

To thank those who come to the performances, special giveaways will be offered, such as theater tickets for Broadway shows.