Broadway sent its regards to Broadway on Sunday, on the smallest stop on a nationwide "Thank You, America" road show tour by Big Apple stage performers.
Residents of the town of some 1,100 people let the visitors know they were welcome, cheering along the street and taking pictures as town emergency vehicles escorted the bus carrying actress Sandy Duncan and her fellow performers.
"No other city has stepped up like this with the excitement and enthusiasm," said Paige Price, a cast member and associate producer of the show.
The free, hourlong musical revue, "New York Loves America: The Broadway Tour," is more than halfway through its 14-city, 16-day tour designed to thank the country for the help New York received following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Twelve-year-old Emily Troxler was excited to be part of a children's chorus that got to sing before the show.
"There are people from New York, and they're famous, and we're going to meet them," Emily said.
Sunday's show in Broadway, sandwiched between performances in Washington and Atlanta, is the only one on the tour not in a major city.
Duncan, a native of New London, Texas, a town that like Broadway has no stoplights, said the central North Carolina community would probably be the highlight of the tour.
"This is different because the whole town is coming out," Duncan said. "All of Miami didn't come out to see us, and they are going to such lengths to make us feel special."
With Duncan on the tour are Ruthie Henshall, Michael Mulheren, Paige Price and Keith Byron Kirk, all veterans of Broadway shows.
Town commissioner Amy Stevens led the effort to bring the show to Broadway, courting officials of the League of American Theatres and Producers since the town was contacted about becoming a "sister city" with Broadway a few years ago.
The auditorium at Broadway Elementary School seats 550, but town officials gave out more than 1,000 tickets, making room for the overflow on the floor and in the school gymnasium.
The show didn't start until mid-afternoon, but fans eager to get good seats brought their lawn chairs and were waiting in line before 11 a.m., passing the time talking about everything from college basketball to church services.
"This is better than the beauty shop," said Barbara Griffin.
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