Crowds lined New York's 44th Street the evening of Aug. 5 to greet comedian Jerry Seinfeld for the first of 10 sold-out comedy concerts at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre.
Seinfeld grinned and waved to fans as he emerged about 6:30 PM from his limo at the stage door and quickly slipped inside to prepare for two concerts, 7 and 10 PM, to kick off the five-day gig that will culminate 9 PM (ET) Sunday, Aug. 9, in a concert that will be carried live on HBO.
Earlier in the day Aug. 5 that same sidewalk in front of the Broadhurst was still filled with lighting and other technical equipment being loaded into the theatre.
But by early evening the sidewalks held only gawking fans held back by blue police barricades supervised by NYPD cops on horseback. The street needed to be clear as limo after limo pulled up at the theatre. Fans leaned forward, hoping it was either Seinfeld or someone else famous. Among those who attended the opening night performance were Bernadette Peters, Adolph Green, Mary Tyler Moore and perennial first-nighter, cartoonist Al Hirschfeld.
The barricades didn't stop TV and radio reporters from working the crowd, asking fans from as far as Minnesota and Los Angeles how they felt about seeing Seinfeld. Mostly: good. Also feeling good was Kenny Kramer, the real-life model for the "Kramer" character on Seinfeld's TV show. The real Kramer runs a tour service to Manhattan spots mentioned on the long-running TV series. His blue tour van was parked nearby. Kramer enthusiastically worked the crowd, inviting fans to partake of his tour, as female assistants handed out flyers.
Seinfeld has donated proceeds from the concerts to programs benefiting students in the New York City public schools. The money will be distributed through Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning (PENCIL) and ArtsConnection.
Publicist Merle Frimark said an account in the New York Post that had "Seinfeld" veterans Jason Alexander and Jerry Stiller joining their TV colleague on stage at the Broadhurst was "not true." The same article said that scalpers were selling tickets to the sold-out concerts for as much as $1,500.
"We sent a letter to Mr. Seinfeld in late May asking him and other popular artists on Broadway to do whatever they can to help us with the ticket scalping problem," said David Corvette, a spokesman for New York Attorney General Dennis Vacco. Vacco has been conducting an investigation into ticket sales corruption for the past two years. Corvette said the attorney general's office had not heard back from Seinfeld. He added, however, that the office would look into the accusations. "We would be interested in following up any reports of scalping tickets."