Broadway performers let the show go on for the first time in a year Friday with a live performance to mark the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic — as well as the theater industry’s forthcoming “rebirth.”
The “We Will Be Back” pop-up in Times Square featured dancing and singing from some of Broadway’s top talent, including actor Andre DeShields.
“This is just a different way to bring the message to the people,” DeShields, who won a Tony Award for his role in the musical “Hadestown” and is best known for his title role in “The Wiz,” told The Post.
“We are not going anywhere.”
The hour-long performance, hosted by the Times Square Alliance, served as a reunion of sorts — Broadway went dark on March 12, 2020, as the coronavirus crisis began ravaging the Big Apple.
But the surprise event was a reminder that The Great White Way will one day return to New York City after its “lost” year that cost some 97,000 workers their jobs.
Other stars like Brian Stokes Mitchell, Matthew Broderick and Chita Rivera were also in attendance for the live production, which fittingly opened with the song, “On Broadway” — performed by singers wearing face shields and dancers in face masks.
The show was not announced ahead of time to avoid crowds from forming.
Passersby said they felt lucky to have stumbled upon the live performance.
“I think it’s well needed and I think it’s a breath of fresh air and the promise that Broadway will come back,” said Jules Smith, 30.
Cora Hester, 50, said the actors’ energy left the Crossroads of the World buzzing.
“I can see they are ready to get back to work,” she said, after the show wrapped. “I’m looking forward to the first Broadway show opening.”
Nikk M. James, who won a Tony Award for her performance in the hit “Book of Mormon,” said Friday was all about showing unity.
“It means that even though we have been separated, we’ve been isolated, that we are still connected and when the call comes, we are ready to come back together,” she said.
While an exact date for Broadway to reopen has not yet been set, industry insiders have said they hope to get back up and running by early September.
“I think it’s a lesson,” DeShield said of the pandemic shutdown. “We are still learning because Broadway is probably the source of New York’s tourism and tourism is what makes this city.”
“People have to feel safe, sure and unharmed if they are coming back,” he added.