The live broadcast, scheduled for 7:45 PM on the Clear Channel Spectacolor digital billboards, was to be the first opening-night performance in history aired live in Times Square.
According to a representative for the production, a specific slot time was permitted for Clear Channel to broadcast the finale with sound in Times Square. As is typical with many Broadway opening nights, Side Show got off to a late start. The performance, which was to begin at 7 PM, didn't raise its curtain until about 7:25 PM, meaning that the act one finale "Who Will Love Me As I Am?" would not occur until after 8 PM. Technically, the song would not make its 7:45 PM live call.
Days before opening, a back-up tape of the rousing power ballad had been prepared by the show's producers in the event of such circumstances or other technical snares. That previously-taped performance is what ultimately aired at 7:45 PM in Times Square.
"There was no mechanism in place with which to deliver fans the message that the performance was pre-recorded, nor did the production deem it necessary as it still delivered an exciting moment with footage of a live performance," a spokesman for the production said in a statement.
The revival of Side Show was met with strong critical notices. Read the reviews here.
Academy Award winner Bill Condon, who is making his Broadway directorial debut, directs. Side Show has a score by Tony nominee Henry Krieger, book and lyrics by Tony nominee Bill Russell and additional book material by Condon.
Watch the video of the Times Square performance here: