This summer marks the in-person return of a great New York theatrical tradition, Broadway Barks, a pet adoption event that features some of the biggest stars on Broadway and some of the cutest stars on four legs.
On July 9, for the first time since 2018, animal rescue groups from all over the New York City area will come together at one of the biggest, most colorful and star-studded pet adoption events. Produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Broadway Barks will take place in Shubert Alley, which is located between 44th and 45th Streets.
For four years, the event was either cancelled or done virtually. But in-person is where it is at and this is an excuse for stargazing, petting and some truly horrific puns—not here though: This will be purrfect.
Broadway Barks was co-founded by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore, and one can expect, and array of Broadway celebrities—everything from some Tony Award winners, a viral star to a real-live (two legged) Wolverine–dropping by to help find homes for animals from the participating New York–area shelters. This year’s event will be co-hosted by Peters and Tony winner and star of The Music Man, Sutton Foster.
The announced group of celebrity guests includes Shoshana Bean (Mr. Saturday Night), famed animal trainer Bill Berloni, Jewelle Blackman (Hadestown), Tammy Blanchard (Little Shop of Horrors), Alex Brightman (Beetlejuice: The Musical), Kerry Butler (Beetlejuice), Bobby Conte (Company), Lilli Cooper, Clifton Davis, John Dossett (Paradise Square), Claybourne Elder (Company), Myles Frost (MJ), Jared Goldsmith (Dear Evan Hansen), Randy Graff (Mr. Saturday Night), Tamar Greene (Hamilton), Chasten Harmon (Mr. Saturday Night), Shuler Hensley (The Music Man), Antwayn Hopper (A Strange Loop), Jayne Houdyshell (Music Man), Hugh Jackman (Music Man), James Jackson Jr. (Strange Loop), Brittney Johnson (Wicked), Ramin Karimloo (Funny Girl), Eddie Korbich (Music Man), Leslie Kritzer (Beetlejuice), John-Michael Lyles (Strange Loop), Jane Lynch (Funny Girl), Michael Maliakel (Aladdin), Jefferson Mays (Music Man), John-Andrew Morrison (Strange Loop), Abby Mueller (Six), Jessie Mueller (The Minutes), Marie Mullen (Music Man), Donna Murphy, Suzy Nakamura (POTUS), David Paymer (Mr. Saturday Night), Randy Rainbow, Christopher Sieber (Company), Jennifer Simard (Company), Jaquel Spivey (Strange Loop), Talia Suskauer (Wicked), Jason Veasey (Strange Loop), Julie White (POTUS).
The animal rescue groups that will be at Broadway Barks include Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniels Rescue Inc., Adopt A Boxer Rescue, AdvoCat Rescue, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Animal Care Centers of NYC—formerly Animal Care & Control (ACC), Anjellicle Cats Rescue, Bideawee, Bobbi and the Strays, City Critters, Francis’s Friends Inc., Husky House, Linda’s Cat Assistance, Little Shelter, Long Island Bulldog, Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League Inc., Pet ResQ Inc., SaveKitty Foundation, SPCA of Westchester, Urban Cat League, Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue and 1 Love 4 Animals. [Full disclosure: I have volunteered with Anjellicle Cats Rescue since 2010.]
The location of Broadway Barks alone makes for great cameos. Early on visitors can have a meet-and greet with everything from the tiniest kittens to greatest Great Danes. Then as the matinees let out, some of the brightest stars on Broadway stop by to introduce some of the four-legged friends; others just stop by to admire the eye candy that the rescue groups have display.
Given the carnival-like atmosphere, most groups go all out with an array of takeaways—like special T-shirts and posters—as well an occasional costumed character or two. But the most popular thing to take home is a furry one. At the very least, if you have the chance to be hugged by a Great Dane, just take it; it will make your day.
BroadwayBarks begins at 3 p.m. on July 9, with the celebrity presentations running from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information go to BroadwayBarks.com.