Shubert Alley was more like a wind tunnel for this year's annual showcase of Broadway talent, "Stars in the Alley." Gusts of air mussed the hair and toppled the hats of the several hundred people who packed the passageway for the midday event. Still, the fans stood firm, and were rewarded with performances by such stars as The Scarlet Pimpernel's Christine Andreas, High Society's Daniel McDonald and Anna Kendrick, and Ragtime's Marin Mazzie and Peter Friedman.
Joe and Ralph had come in for the day from Philadelphia to take in Chicago and Cabaret. Joe, who enjoyed Ernie Sabella's alley rendering of "Mr. Cellophane," is rather uniquely qualified to judge the portrayal. He has attended 18 performances of Chicago. Ralph, not as big a fan, has seen the show only 10 times.
Lucille and Alice, old girlfriends from New Jersey, were in town to see the revival of Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge. They visit Broadway about once a month, last time for The Sound of Music. Rita of Queens is also a Broadway stalwart, enough to boast about her collection of Playbills. "I've got everything," she said. Her favorite performer of the moment is Alan Cumming of Cabaret, but, as Cumming was not available, she was more than happy to get an autograph from Andreas instead. Rita hasn't seen Pimpernel, but thought Andreas' treatment of the song "Storybook" "marvelous."
Certainly Priya wasn't going to be deterred by a few breezes. She had come all the way from India, after all. "It was just wonderful," she said. She was only to be in the U.S. for two months before returning home. Priya had yet to see any Broadway shows, but most enjoyed the performances of the children from The Sound of Music and the Kit Kat Klub Band from Cabaret.
Other popular sources of autographs were Douglas Sills and Freak's John Leguizamo, who created the afternoon's most interesting juxtaposition by introducing both Shubert Chairman Gerald Schoenfeld and League of American Theatres and Producers Executive Director Jed Bernstein. "He owns everything. He owns you, this alley, everything," Leguizamo quipped of Schoenfeld, who seemed to relish the description. As for Bernstein, the comedian called him "the inspiration for my performance in Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar."