Broadway Barks 10

Celebrating its first decade of success, and with more shelters participating than ever before, July 12’s Broadway Barks 10 sparked an outstanding number of pet adoptions, with more interest and pending applications in the works at the many shelters represented.

“We placed 62 animals that afternoon in less than 3 hours!” enthused Devera Lynn with the North Shore Animal League, one of more than 25 shelters and animal rescue facilities participating in this year’s event.  “It was amazing and we are grateful but especially so pleased for the very fortunate dogs and cats, particularly the adult animals that are often more difficult to place than puppies and kittens.”

Held annually in Shubert Alley and down a lane of W. 45th Street in the heart of Broadway, BARKS 10 was hosted by founders Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore between Saturday matinee and evening performances beginning at 3:30pm and featured celebrity pet presentations by an enviable roster of Broadway’s finest from 5:30 to 7:00pm as well as an auction of celebrity-autographed memorabilia.

Celebrities on hand included: Sebastian Arcelus, Christine Baranski, Laura Benanti, Kerry Butler, Michael Cerveris, Victoria Clark, Glenn Close, Charlotte d’Amboise, Harvey Fierstein, Boyd Gaines, Peter Gallagher, Joel Grey, Schuler Hensley, Jackie Hoffman, Cheyenne Jackson, Andy Karl, Lacey Kohl, Nathan Lane and Li Jun Li.

Michael Longoria, Mario Lopez, Priscilla Lopez, Heather MacRae, Andrea Martin, Nick Mayo, Judy McLane, Matthew Morrison, Michael Mulheren, Bebe Neuwirth, Orfeh, Faith Prince, Pamela Remler, Loretta Ables Sayre, and Jennifer Smith and surprise guest Dr. Ruth Westheimber were also in Shubert Alley helping the orphaned cats and dogs look their best for potential adoptive homes.

Tony Award winner, Michael Cerveris has been coming by Broadway Barks for years.sometimes as a celebrity presenter and other times just to hang out with his own best friend, pictured below.

“Gibson and I have been a part of Broadway Barks nearly every year since its inception,” he says. “I adopted Gibson from the ASPCA fourteen years ago and that was probably the single best decision I’ve ever made. It hasn’t always easy adjusting my life to care for another being who relies on me entirely, but I think I’m a better person for the lessons I’ve learned and I’m certainly happier and healthier for the companionship she’s given me all these years. She’s waited for me patiently (and sometimes, it seems, with notes) in every dressing room and on-set trailer I’ve occupied.

“So when Bernadette and Mary began this fantastic event, I was an enthusiastic volunteer. Not only because I’ve come to care so deeply about the plight of homeless animals and their right to loving, caring homes, but also because I know first hand what a miraculous thing it is to adopt a companion from the wonderful shelters that have to struggle so hard to sustain themselves. It’s a wonderful afternoon for us all. It’s hard to put on airs when a four legged person is peeing on your shoe. Getting to join in the fun…well, that’s a genuine honor and a treat.”

Celebrities and volunteers not only encouraged pet adoption, but stressed the importance of spaying/neutering. Over the past few years, this trend has resulted in a marked decrease in the number of animals euthanized in and around New York City, from more than 30,000 a year recorded in 2000 to about 18,000 today.

“It’s an terrific improvement,” said Peters as she gently stroked the ears of an adorable mutt that would indeed soon find a home, “and one we are very proud of being a part of. But our goal is that one day New York City will be home to all “no-kill” shelters and rescues.”

“Our lives have been touched by the animals we’ve adopted from shelters,” adds Mary Tyler Moore. “There is no need for “the perfectly bred pet” when there are so many loving and lovable companion animals looking for a home and, without finding one, facing an uncertain future. Both Bernadette and I have been swept away by the love of our rescued dogs!”

Broadway Cares About Animals, too!
Produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, money raised at Broadway Barks from a silent auction, signed memorabilia sales and donations is distributed to the participating shelters and rescue groups and as a larger gift to The Picasso Veterinary Fund. Part of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. This fund provides grants to shelters and rescue groups to cover extraordinary veterinary costs.

For Broadway Cares, Barks is an opportunity to give back to animal lovers in the theatrical community who donate hours of talent and time to our organization.

“In appreciation for the theatre community’s unprecedented commitment to over 20 years of fundraising, BC/EFA is happy to join Bernadette, Mary and all those on Broadway whose compassion and concern for others includes many sweet four-legged friends and the animal-loving organizations gathered today in Shubert Alley,” said BC/EFA executive director Tom Viola, proud dad of 2 dogs, Maggie and Squirrel and 3 cats, Ed, Earl and Puddy of his own. “I know it sounds crazy, but I love animals and have since I was a kid. We’re a very happy home three stories above Ninth Avenue and every day I do three things; shower, shave and vacuum. The rest is optional.”

Autograph Hounds
This year’s silent auction featured an impressive 36 lots and raised $3,830, with $2,200 coming from “autograph hounds,” toy dogs signed by cast members from a number of Broadway shows, including: A Catered Affair, A Chorus Line, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Country Girl, Curtains, Grease, Gypsy, The Homecoming, In The Heights, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, November, The Phantom of the Opera, Rent, South Pacific, Spamalot, Spring Awakening, Young Frankenstein, and Wicked, as well as a host of raffle items included: a pair of tickets to 2007’s Tony Award-winning Best Musical Spring Awakening; Xanadu, Thurgood and Young Frankenstein.

The shelters appearing at Broadway Barks are everything from “breed specific” to those with large assortments of dogs and cats, young and mature, as well as many smaller grassroots groups saving animals literally abandoned on the street or at their doorstep.

Participating shelters and adoption agencies were: A Cause for Paws, Adopt A Boxer Rescue, Animal Care and Control of New York City, Animal Haven, Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Anjellicle Cats Rescue, ASPCA, AC&C, BARC, Bide-A-Wee, Bobbi & the Strays, City Critters, Humane Society of New York, Husky House, Kitty Kind, Long Island Greyhound Transfer, Loving Touch, Metropolitan Maltese Rescue, Mid Atlantic Great Dane Rescue, NYC Siamese Rescue, Pet-I-Care, PLUTO, Russell Refuge, Save Kitty Foundation, Staten Island Council for Animal Welfare, Stray from the Heart, and the Tigger Foundation. Please “google” any of these shelters to inquire about adoptions.

Lorraine Healy, founder of “Husky House” a shelter specializing in abandoned Siberian Huskies said: “We’re thrilled to be a part of Broadway Barks. Mya, Stoli, Misa and Snow wore their “adopt me” vests proudly and greeted the crowds with licks and kisses, hoping to find a family to love them and that dream came true for 8-month old Mya, who will go home with the new dad she met today next week.”  (We are happy to report that since the event Misa has also found a forever home and applications have been submitted for Stoli and Snow ).

This year’s BARKS was marked by two special events. Beginning at 12:30 and running well past its initial one-hour timeframe, Peters greeted fans in the lobby of the Broadhurst Theater and signed copies of her new children’s book,Broadway Barks. Proceeds from the book, which tells the story of a musical dog who finds a home through the annual event, go to animal shelters and rescue units across the city. (Broadway Barks can be purchased through Broadway Cares at www.broadwaycares.org ).

Two Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals awards were also presented during the festivities. One of those was the ASPCA Award given to Rescue Ink, an animal rescue organization that brings an in-your-face approach and zero tolerance policy to the fight against animal abuse and neglect. The other award, The Pedigree Award, was presented to Tom Viola and BC/EFA for all of the support and leadership shown to Broadway Barks over the past 10 years and for helping to make the dream of Broadway Barks into the reality it is today.

The crowning touch was the presentation of a framed Proclamation from the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, proclaiming July 12, 2007 as Broadway Barks 10 Day!

Produced by Richard Hester, Patty Saccente and BC/EFA’s Scott T. Stevens, Broadway Barks 10 was sponsored by The ASPCA, Pedigree andThe New York Times.