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Protest erupts at Broadway Barks, but stars bite back

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ABC Audio/Emily Schutz

Three-time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters hosted her annual Broadway Barks adoption event in New York City’s Shubert Alley on Saturday. This was the 24th year of the event, which aims to find homes for shelter animals. Each year, Peters brings in Broadway stars to introduce the dogs and cats to an adoring crowd.

“For the first time in three years, we’re live in the alley,” she shared with ABC Audio before the performance. “I’m so excited! I can’t wait.”

Not everyone in the crowd was adoring this year, though. Right alongside the Broadway buffs with pens and playbills hoping to get an autograph from the likes of Hugh Jackman, Sutton Foster and Jane Lynch were protestors yelling toward the stage and holding signs.

One of the posters read “send the animals home,” which may be referencing the event’s support from the New York Humane Society (HSNY). Theirturn.net has taken credit for the protest, claiming that HSNY makes “minimal effort to find the animals homes.” 

Peters addressed the protestors saying, “You are stopping all the animals here from having a chance to be adopted. Isn’t that what you want?” — prompting cheers from the rest of the crowd. Soon after, some protestors were removed, while others filed out of the alley.

Before the event, ABC Audio caught up with Foster and her co-star in The Music Man, Hugh Jackman, to discuss what the event meant to them.

“It’s just a wonderful way to bring a bunch of shelters together and to find homes for some really lucky dogs and cats,” said Foster.

“It just shows the heart that is in this community,” added Jackman.

Despite the protests, many adoption applications were submitted, and potential adopters are being vetted.

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