It may have seemed like it was raining cats and dogs on July 30, 2016, but the dozens of felines and canines in Shubert Alley were there for the 18th annual edition of Broadway Barks, the pet adoption event founded by Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters.
Mother Nature unleashed a downpour during the event, but it did little to dampen the spirits of hundreds of pet lovers gathered in the heart of New York City’s theatre district.
“These dogs need a home whether they’re wet or dry,” music legend Gloria Estefan, who joined Peters as co-host this year, told the crowd. “It’s very hard not to go home with all of them.”
Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, who rescued his dog 13 years ago, said: “I can’t think of a better reason to be out in the rain than to adopt all these wonderful pets.”
The menagerie of dogs and cats that filled Shubert Alley came from 29 area shelters and rescue organizations. The event, produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, raised awareness for 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.
As always, the most anticipated part of the afternoon was the parade of dogs and cats led by 60 Broadway and Off-Broadway performers. The stars introduced their new four-legged friends from each shelter and rescue group represented at the event and urged the audience to provide them forever homes.
“It’s not how cute they are, it’s finding the best kind of dog or cat that will fulfill your life,” said Estefan, who added that she’s had as many as 14 rescue dogs at once at her Miami home. “Whether it’s a puppy or an older dog, they all have so much unconditional love to give.”
The adorable, adoptable pets of Broadway Barks came in all shapes and sizes – from chihuahuas to Great Danes, calicos to Persians. Their journeys started across the city and as far away as Egypt, Iran and Thailand.
This year’s lineup of celebrity guests included James Barbour, Giuseppe Bausilio, Bill Berloni, Reed Birney, Richard H. Blake, Sierra Boggess, Ava Briglia, Andréa Burns, Scott J. Campbell, Sophia Anne Caruso, Allison Case, Michael Cerveris, Leanne Cope, Alma Cuervo, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Drew Gehling, Tyler Hanes, Sean Hayes, Jessica Hecht, Rick Holmes, Jayne Houdyshell, Judy Kaye, Chilina Kennedy, Michael Lomenda, Beth Malone, Kim Maresca, Samantha Massell, Willow McCarthy, Rob McClure, Rita McKenzie, Judy McLane, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Michael Mulheren, Tori Murray, Bebe Neuwirth, Rory O’Malley, Brad Oscar, Jill Paice, Georgina Pazcoguin, Paul Pecorino, Mauricio Perez, Gabriella Pizzolo, Ben Rappaport, Ektor Rivera, Dominic Scaglione Jr., Peter Scolari, Emily Skeggs, Corey John Snide, Amy Spanger, Carrie St. Louis, Alexandria Suarez, Ricky Ubeda, Quinn VanAntwerp, Ana Villafane, Max von Essen, Aviva Winick, Amra-Faye Wright and Jessica Keenan Wynn.
From unique mixed breeds to fabulous purebreds and strays, Broadway Barksfeatured animals from ASPCA, Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Adopt A Boxer Rescue, Animal Care and Control of NYC, Animal Haven, Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Anjellicle Cats Rescue, BARC (Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition), Bideawee, Bobbi & the Strays, City Critters, Humane Society of New York, Husky House, Kitty Kind, Linda’s Feral Cat Assistance, Little Shelter, Long Island Bulldog Rescue, Loving Touch, Manhattan Valley Cat Rescue, Main Line Animal Rescue, Metropolitan Maltese Rescue, Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League, Inc., Pet-I-Care, P.L.U.T.O. Rescue, Posh Pets Rescue, SaveKitty Foundation, Sean Casey Animal Rescue, Tigger Foundation and Urban Cat League.
Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, shared Mayor Bill De Blasio’s proclamation that declared July 30, 2016, as “Broadway Barks Day” in New York. Earlier in the afternoon, Peters and Estefan greeted fans in Shubert Alley to sign autographs.
Broadway Barks was sponsored The New York Times. It was produced by Scott T. Stevens, Patty Saccente and Richard Hester.
Photos by Monica Simoes