Broadway Barks Welcomes Stars and Their Furry Friends to Shubert Alley

More than 200 lovable, adoptable dogs and cats, the brightest stars of Broadway and the fans who love them both gathered in Shubert Alley on July 11, 2015, for a sunny, 17th annual edition of Broadway Barks.

From Great Danes to dachshunds, huskies to yorkies, a menagerie of ready-for-a-forever-home pets filled the theatre district to raises awareness and funds for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.

This year’s event was hosted by Broadway Barks co-founder and Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters, who was joined for the day by special guest Tony nominee Andrew Rannells.

The most anticipated part of the day for many is the annual parade of adoptable pets presented by more than 70 Broadway and Off-Broadway celebrities. Hugging and snuggling their cuddly partners for the afternoon, the stars introduced each shelter and rescue group represented at the event and urged the audience to adopt a new friend.

Beth Malone, Tony Award nominee from this year’s Best Musical winner Fun Home, revels in being the parent of rescue dogs. “Each and every little set of eyes that looks back at you from these shelters is having a huge emotional life,” Malone said. “They have little broken hearts until somebody loves them. And once you know the love of a stray, it’s this very intense bond and they are forever grateful.” Malone and her wife, Rochelle Schoppert, have two rescue dogs: Peanut, a Chihuahua, and Dinky, a Maltese.

Lena Hall, Tony winner for Hedwig and the Angry Inch, made a surprise appearance to announce she just adopted a puffy Pomeranian from the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. “I lost my dog a few weeks ago and my heart was broken,” Hall said. ”I came here today to find a new friend and I’m taking her with me. Meet my new daughter, Piper.”

Jefferson Mays, the Tony-winning star of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, urged the enthusiastic audience to think about rescue pets first. “Adopt a dog and it will change your life forever,” he said. “My wife and I adopted a little rescue dog named Maud from Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn two years ago and we’re so happy we did.”

Broadway Barks started 17 years ago with six shelters. “Nobody could imagine that we would be gathering here today to present 28 shelters and rescue groups,” Peters said, adding that Barks’ co-founder Mary Tyler Moore was sadly unable to join her for this year’s event. “Mary would remind us that there are still countless thousands of perfectly healthy and adorable homeless pets. And we’re still spreading the word about the importance of spaying and neutering your animals. We have to learn to take care of the ones we have without making even more.”

The afternoon included a special performance by Jessica Keenan Wynn, currently starring in Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, who dedicated “He’s Sure the Boy I Love” to Romeo, a delightful top-hat wearing bulldog. Peters herself dedicated another special serenade to Sandy, a pup brought to stage by Broadway’s renowned animal trainer Bill Berloni. Peters’ song was from Dames at Sea, a musical in which she appeared in 1966 and which will be given its first Broadway production this fall.

Among the other celebrities who participated this year were Clyde Alves, Brooks Ashmanskas, James Barbour, Ian Barford, Bill Berloni, Heidi Blickenstaff, Sierra Boggess, Christian Borle, Marylouise Burke, Mary Callanan, Scott J. Campbell, John Cariani, Carolee Carmello, Michael Cerveris, Leanne Cope, Corey Cott, Veanne Cox, Gavin Creel, Nikki Renée Daniels, Tracy Jai Edwards, Alison Ewing, Robert Fairchild, Francesca Faridany, Tori Feinstein, Jonathan Freeman, Montego Glover, Harriet Harris, Glenne Headly, Edward Hibbert, Jackie Hoffman, Dee Hoty, Jayne Houdyshell, James Monroe Iglehart, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Andy Karl, Chilina Kennedy, Jeff Kready, Judy Kuhn, Marvin Laird, Peter Land, Kara Lindsay, Sydney Lucas, Alison Luff, Kim Maresca, Lesli Margherita, Jefferson Mays, Andrea McCullough, Howard McGillin, Rita McKenzie, Judy McLane, Tori Murray, Michael Oberholtzer, Brad Oscar, Jill Paice, Joel Paley, Mary Beth Peil, Kate Reinders, Christopher Sieber, Emily Skeggs, Jarrod Spector, Sarah Stiles, Taylor Trensch, Brandon Uranowitz, Michael Urie, Max von Essen, Amra-Faye Wright and Chip Zien.

From unique mixed breeds to fabulous purebreds and strays, Broadway Barks featured adoptable animals from ASPCA, Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Adopt a Boxer Rescue, Animal Care and Control of NYC, Animal Haven, Anjellicle Cat Rescue, Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF), BARC (Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition), BeFreegle Foundation, Bideawee, Bobbi & the Strays, City Critters, Humane Society of New York, Husky House, Kitty Kind, Linda’s Feral Cat Assistance, Loving Touch, Manhattan Valley Cat Rescue, Metropolitan Maltese Rescue, Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League, NY Pet-I-Care, P.L.U.T.O. Rescue (Pet Lovers United Together As One), Posh Pets Rescue, Save A Yorkie Rescue, SaveKitty Foundation, Sean Casey Animal Rescue, Tigger Foundation and Urban Cat League.Broadway Barks supports the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, a coalition of 150 nonprofit shelters and rescue groups working to end the killing of healthy and treatable cats and dogs at city shelters.

Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, shared Mayor Bill De Blasio’s proclamation that declared July 11, 2015, as “Broadway Barks Day” in New York. Earlier in the afternoon, Peters greeted fans in Shubert signing copies of her new book Stella and Charlie: Friends Forever.

Broadway Barks was sponsored by Sylvia and The New York Times. It is presented by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and produced by Scott T. Stevens, Patty Saccente and Richard Hester.

Photos by Jonathan Tichler