Distraught yet upbeat, Broadway stars give ‘Concert for America’

Distraught yet upbeat, Broadway stars give ‘Concert for America’
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For 150 minutes, no one mentioned Donald J. Trump.

Instead, a constellation of well-known Broadway performers gathered on Friday at the Town Hall auditorium in Manhattan to sing a collection of songs about love of country and hope for the future, offering a competing vision of America to the one they associate with the country’s new president, who had been inaugurated a few hours earlier.

Without a word of direct criticism, the diverse array of performers spoke of values they clearly believe are now under threat — equal protection for sexual and racial minorities, support for the poor, government aid to the arts — and raised money for groups supporting civil liberties, women’s health and environmental protection.

“It ain’t over yet,” a visibly choked up Ben Vereen repeatedly interpolated into the lyrics of “What a Wonderful World,” prompting a standing ovation. “We have no room for discouragement,” said Mr. Vereen, who won a Tony Award in 1973 as the Leading Player in “Pippin.” “Hope is all we’ve got.”

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