The show must go on

Associated Press

NEW YORK – From 41st Street and “Rent” to 54th Street and “Cabaret,” the curtains rose again Thursday on Broadway shows after two nights of dark, empty theaters because of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

“We have an expression in the theater,” said Rocco Landesman, one of the producers of “The Producers.” “The show must go on.”

And on Thursday night it did, to cheers and applause from an audience that yelled and clapped even before stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick came onstage.

Landesman spoke at the start of the sold-out performance of Broadway’s biggest hit, which, he said, was dedicated to “our fellow New Yorkers who died in the senseless tragedy in the World Trade Center.”

“The show you are going to see is a comedy, and I couldn’t be happier that it is a comedy,” he said. “I think laughter is a great bonder of people. I don’t think anything could be better in terms of making a statement about what is going on than to attend an event where we can all be together and laugh together.”

Before the shows began, Broadway theaters dimmed their lights and a quiet fell over arriving theatergoers, even the estimated 150 people waiting in the ticket-cancellation line at “The Producers.” The hush was sudden and eerie, broken only by the chimes of theater bells urging latecomers to take their seats.

Broadway shows varied in how they paid their respects to the victims of Tuesday’s attacks. “Les Miserables” planned to observe a moment of silence before the show, said spokesman Marc Thibodeau, while “The Phantom of Opera” would do the same after its curtain fell.

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